Foreword: (this Foreword and Contents written May, 2010 (updated 2021) by Daniel Winters; earlysda hotmail.com)
This book was printed in 1870, and some of this Testimony was compiled into books in later years, and some was not.
This Testimony is another "hard-hitting" one with a focus on the health message as regards to eating, and as regards to sex. There are admonitions regarding going to extremes in both cases, and a lengthy section dealing with the sin of masturbation. We must be careful to treat our bodies as the temple of God, or our brains will become "benumbed".
This book was made to look as close to the original as possible. There are 208 pages in the original book, and you can view an exact PDF copy on www.earlysda.com.
This particular book was taken from a photo-copy of a photo-copy of a photo-copy.... and as such, the original spellings were left as in the original. There are several spelling/typesetting mistakes, listed at the end. If there are other spelling/typesetting mistakes in this book, please email me.
May the Holy Spirit impress God's words upon our hearts as we read, and may they help us overcome our tendencies to selfishness.
As i personally scanned/typed this in, there are no copyright violations, and i make this Testimony available to be copied or printed with no copyright restrictions. It is freely available for reading or downloading at www.earlysda.com.Contents:
Delivered in Battle Creek, March 6, 1869, and reported by U. Smith.
"KNOW ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor. vi, 19, 20.
We are not our own. We do not belong to ourselves. But we have been purchased with a dear price. We have cost an immense sum, even the sufferings and death of the Son of God. If we can understand this, and fully realize it, then shall we feel great responsibility resting upon us to keep ourselves in the very best condition of health, that we may render to God perfect service.
But when we take any course which decreases our strength, expends our vitality, beclouds the intellect, and destroys the powers of the mind, we sin against God. In pursuing this course we are not glorifying him in our bodies and spirits which are his; but are committing a great wrong in his sight.
Has Jesus given himself for us? Has this dear price been paid to redeem us? And is it so, that we are not our own? Is it true that all the powers of our being, our bodies, our spirits, all that we have, and all we are, belong to God? Is this so? It certainly is. And when we realize this, what obligation does it lay us under to God to preserve ourselves in that condition that we may honor him upon the earth in our bodies and in our spirits which are the Lord's.
We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us. It is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold to-day are present truth, and that we are preparing for the Judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who is to appear in the clouds of heaven with the holy retinue of angels, to escort Him on his way, to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When he comes he is not to cleanse us of our sins. He is not then to remove from us the defects in our characters. He will not then cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. He will not do this work then. Before that time this work will all be accomplished, if wrought for us at all. Then those who are holy will be holy still. They are not to be made holy when the Lord comes. Those who have preserved their bodies, and their spirits, in holiness, and in sanctification, and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. And when he comes, those who are unjust, and unsanctified, and filthy, will remain so forever. There is then no work to be done for them which shall remove their defects, and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue his refining process, and remove their sins, and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.
We embrace the truth of God with our different organizations, and as we come under the influence of truth, it will accomplish the work for us which is necessary to be accomplished, and give us a moral fitness for the kingdom of glory, and for the society of the heavenly angels. We are now in God's workshop. We are, many of us, rough stone from the quarry. As we lay hold upon the truth of God, its influence must affect us. It must elevate us. It must remove from us every imperfection. It must remove from us sins of whatever nature. And it must fit us, that we may be prepared to see the King in his beauty, and finally to unite with the pure and heavenly angels in the kingdom of glory. This work is to be accomplished for us here. Here we are, with these bodies and spirits, which are to be fitted for immortality.
We are in a world that is in opposition to righteousness, holiness, a growth in grace, and to purity of character. Everywhere we look we see deformity and sin. We see corruption. We see defilement on every hand. And what is the work that we are to undertake here just previous to immortality? It is to preserve our bodies holy, our spirits pure, that we may stand forth unstained amid the corruptions teeming around us in these last days. And if this work is to be performed for us, we need to engage in it heartily, and engage in it at once. We want to take hold of the work now. We want to understand it just as it is. Selfishness should not come in here to control us. We want the Spirit of God to have perfect control of us. It should influence us in all our actions. And if we have a right hold on Heaven, a right hold of the power that is from above, we shall feel the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God upon our hearts.
When we have tried to present to our brethren and sisters the health reform, and have spoken to them of the importance of their eating, and drinking, and in all that they do, to do it to the glory of God, many, by their actions, have said, "It is nobody's business whether I eat this or that. Whatever we do, we are to bear the consequences ourselves." Dear friends, you are greatly mistaken. You are not the only sufferers from a wrong course. The society you are in bears the consequences of your wrongs, in a great degree, as well as yourselves. If you are suffering from your intemperance in eating or in drinking, we that are around you, or associated with you, are affected by your infirmities. We have to suffer on account of the course you pursue, which is wrong. If it has an influence to lessen your powers of mind or body, we are affected by it. We have to feel it. When in your society, instead of your having a buoyancy of spirit, you are gloomy, and cast a shadow upon the spirits of all around you. If we are sad, and depressed, and in trouble, you could, if in right conditions of health, have a clear brain to show us the way out, and speak a comforting word to us. If your brain is so benumbed by your wrong course of living that you cannot give us the right counsel, do we not meet with a loss? Does not your influence seriously affect us? We may have a good degree of confidence in our own judgment, yet we want to have counsellors; for in many counsellors there is safety. We desire that our course should look consistent and proper to those we love, and we wish to seek their counsel, and have them able to give it with a clear brain. But what care we for your judgment, if your brain nerve-power has been taxed to the utmost to take care of improper food, or an enormous quantity of even healthful food, placed in your stomachs, and the vitality withdrawn from the brain? What care we for the judgment of such persons? They see through a mass of undigested food. Therefore your course of living affects us. It is impossible for you to pursue any wrong course without others suffering beside yourself.
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." In running the race, in order to obtain that laurel which was considered a special honor, those who engaged in running were temperate in all things. They were temperate, that their muscles, and their brains, and every part of them, should be in the very best condition to run. If they were not temperate, they would not have that elasticty that they would have if they were temperate in all things. If temperate, they could run that race successfully. They were more sure of receiving the crown. But notwithstanding all their efforts in the direction of temperance, and to subject themselves to a careful diet, in order to be in the best condition, yet they only ran at a venture. They might do the very best they could, and yet after all not receive the token of honor; for another might be a little in advance of them, and take the prize. One only received the prize. But we can all run in the heavenly race, and all receive the prize. It is not an uncertainty. It is not to run at a risk. We must put on the heavenly graces, with the eye directed upward to the crown of immortality, keeping the Pattern ever before us. He was a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief. The self-denying life of our divine Lord we are to keep constantly in view. His life of poverty, humbleness, and self-denying, we must not forget. And then as we seek to imitate him, keeping our eye upon the mark of the prize, we can run this race with certainty, knowing that if we do the very best we can we shall certainly secure the prize. Men ran to obtain a corruptible crown, one that would perish in a day. All this self-denial practised by those who ran these races was to obtain a corruptible crown, which was only a token of honor from mortals here.
But we are to run the race, at the end of which is a crown of immortality and everlasting life. Yes, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory will be awarded to us as the prize when the race is run. "We," says the apostle, "an incorruptible." And if they could be temperate in all things, who engaged in this race here upon earth for a temporal crown, cannot we be temperate in all things, who have in view an incorruptible crown, an eternal weight of glory, and a life which measures with the life of God? When we have this great inducement before us, cannot we run, with patience, this race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith? He has pointed out the way for us. He has marked it for us by his own footsteps all the way along. It is the path that he traveled. You may, with Christ, experience the self-denial, and the suffering, and walk in this pathway imprinted by his own blood.
"I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection." There is work to do here, for every man, woman, and child. Satan is constantly at work, that he may have control of your bodies and spirits. But Christ has bought you, and you are his property. And now it is for you to work in union with Christ, in union with the holy angels that minister unto you. It is for you to keep the body under, and bring it into subjection. Unless you do this, you will certainly lose everlasting life, and the crown of immortality.
And yet some will say, "What business is it to anybody what I eat? or what I drink?" I have shown you what relation your course had to others. You have seen that it has much to do with the influence you exert in your families. It has to do with your manner of acting. It has much to do with moulding the characters of your children.
As I said before, It is a corrupted age in which we live. It is a time when Satan seems to have almost perfect control of minds that are not fully consecrated to God. Therefore there is a very great responsibility resting upon parents and guardians who have children to bring up. Parents have taken the responsibility of bringing these children into existence. And what now is their duty? Is it to let them come up just as they may? and just as they will? Let me tell you, a weight of responsibility rests upon these parents. Whether you eat, or whether you drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Do you do this when you are preparing food for the table, and when you place it upon your tables, and call your family to partake of it? Are you placing only the food before these children that you know will make the very best blood? Is it that food that will preserve their systems in the least feverish condition? Is it that which will place them in the very best relation to life and health? Is this the food that you are studying to place before your children? Or are you careless and reckless of their future good? and provide for them unhealthful, stimulating, irritating food? Let me tell you that the children from their very birth are born to evil. Satan seems to have control of them. He seems to take possession of their young minds, and they are corrupted. Why do fathers and mothers act as though a lethargy was upon them? They do not mistrust that Satan is sowing evil seed in their families. They are as blind, and careless, and reckless, in regard to these things as it is possible for them to be. Why do they not awake, and study these things? Why are they not reading up? Says the apostle, "Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience," &c. Here is work resting upon every one who professes to follow Jesus Christ, to live upon the plan of addition.
Chapter after chapter has been opened to me. I can select family after family of children in this house that are, every child of them, as corrupt as hell. And some of them profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. And you, the parents, are as indifferent as though you had had a shock of paralysis.
I have said that some of you are selfish. You have not understood what I have meant. You have studied what food would taste best. Taste and pleasure, instead of the glory of God, and to advance in the divine life, and perfect holiness in the fear of God, have ruled. It is to consult your own pleasure, your own appetites; and while you have been doing this, Satan has been gaining a march upon you, and, as it generally happens, has frustrated your efforts every time. Some of you fathers have taken your children to the physicians to see what was the matter with them. I could have told you in two minutes what was the matter. Your children are corrupt. Satan has obtained control of them. He has come right in past you, while you, who are as God to them, to guard them, were at ease, stupefied, and asleep. God has commanded you to bring them up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. But Satan has passed right in before you, and has woven strong bands around them. And yet you sleep on. May Heaven pity these parents, and these children, for they, every one of them, need his pity.
Had you taken your position upon the health reform; had you added to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, things might have been different. But you have only partially aroused, opened your eyes a little, and then composed yourself to sleep again, over the iniquity and corruption that is in your very houses. Do you think angels can come into your dwellings? Do you think your children are susceptible of holy influences with these things in your midst? Yet I can count family after family that are almost entirely under the control of Satan. I know these things are true, and I want the people to arouse before it shall be eternally too late, and the blood of souls, even the blood of the souls of their own children, be found upon their garments.
The minds of some of these children are so weakened that they have but one-half, or one-third, of the brilliancy of intellect that they might have had had they been virtuous and pure. They have thrown it away in self-abuse. Right here in this church, corruption is teeming on every hand. Now and then there is a sing, or some gathering of pleasure. Every time I hear of these, I feel like clothing myself in sackcloth. "Oh! that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears." "Spare thy people, O Lord." I feel distressed. I have an agony of soul that is beyond anything that I can describe to you. You are asleep. Would the lightning and thunder of Sinai arouse this church? Would they arouse you, fathers and mothers, to commence the work of reformation in your own houses? You should be teaching your children. You should be instructing them how to shun the vices and corruptions of this age. Instead of this, many are studying how to get something good to eat. You place upon your tables the meat, the butter, and the eggs. The children partake of these things. The parents are feeding them with the very things that will excite their animal passions, and then they come to the meeting and pray, and ask God to bless their children, and save them. How high do your prayers go? You have a work to do first. When you have done all for your children which God has left for you to do, then you can with confidence claim the special help God has promised to give you.
You should study temperance in all things. You must study it in what you eat, and in what you drink. And yet you say it is nobody's business what I eat, or what I drink, or what I place upon my table. It is somebody's business, unless you take your children and shut them up, or go into the wilderness where you will not be a burden upon others—where your unruly, vicious children will not corrupt the society in which they mingle.
Those who have adopted the health reform, many of them, have left off every hurtful thing; but does it follow that because they have left off these things, they can eat just as much as they please? They sit down to the table, and instead of considering how much they should eat, they give themselves up to appetite, and eat to great excess. And it is all they can do, and all they should do, the rest of that day, to let the stomach worry away with its burden imposed upon it. All the food that is put into the stomach that the system cannot derive benefit from, is a burden to nature in her work. It hinders the living machine. The system is clogged. It cannot successfully carry on the work of life. The vital organs are unnecessarily taxed. The brain nerve-power is called to the stomach to help the digestive organs carry on their work of disposing of an amount of food which does the system no good. So you see you have lessened the power of the brain by drawing so heavily upon it to help the stomach get along with its heavy burden. And after it has accomplished the task, what are the sensations you have experienced as the result of this unnecessary expenditure of vital force? A feeling of goneness, a faintness, as though you must eat more. Perhaps this feeling comes just before meal time. What is the cause of this? Nature has worried along with her work, and is so thoroughly exhausted in her efforts in consequence, that you have this sensation of goneness. And you think that the stomach says, More food, when, in its faintness, it is distinctly saying, Give me rest. The stomach needs rest to gather up its exhausted energies for another work. But instead of your allowing it any period of rest, you think the stomach needs more food, and so you heap another load upon nature, and refuse it all the rest it needs. It is like a man laboring in the field all through the former part of the day until he is weary. He comes in at noon. He says that he is weary and exhausted; but you tell him to go to work again and he will obtain relief. This is the way you treat the stomach. It is thoroughly exhausted. And you call the vitality from other parts of the system to the stomach in the effort of digestion.
You have felt a numbness around the brain. You have felt disinclined to take hold of any special labor, which required exertion. You have felt as though you did not want to engage in labor, mental or physical, to any extent, until you have rested from the sense of this burden imposed upon your system. Then, again, there is this sense of goneness. But you say it is more food that is wanted. You place a double load of food for the stomach to take care of. Even if you are most strict in the quality of your food, do you glorify God in your bodies and spirits, which are his, by partaking of such a quantity of food? Those who place so much food upon the stomach, and thus load down nature, could not appreciate the truth, should they hear it dwelt upon. They could not arouse the benumbed sensibilities of the brain to realize the value of the atonement, and the great sacrifice that has been made for fallen man. It is impossible for such to appreciate the great, precious, and exceedingly rich reward that is in reserve for the faithful over-comers. The animal part of our nature should never be left to govern the moral and intellectual.
And what influence does overeating have upon the stomach? The stomach is debilitated, the digestive organs weakened, and disease, with all its train of evils, is brought on as the result. If they were diseased before, they are now increasing the difficulties upon them, and lessening their vitality every day they live. They call their vital powers into unnecessary action to take care of the food that they place in their stomachs. What a terrible condition is this to be in! We know something of dyspepsia by experience. We have had it in our family. And we feel that it is a much-to-be-dreaded disease. And when a person becomes a thorough dyspeptic, he is a great sufferer, mentally and physically, and his friends must also suffer, unless they are as unfeeling as brutes. And yet will you say, It is none of your business what I eat, or what course I pursue? Does anybody around the dyspeptic suffer? Just take a course that shall irritate them in any way. How natural to be fretful! They feel bad. Their little children appear to them to be very bad. They cannot speak calmly to their children. They cannot, without especial grace, act calmly in their families. All around them are affected by the disease upon them. All around them have to suffer the consequences of their infirmity. They cast a dark shadow. Then, does not your eating and drinking affect others? It certainly does. And you should be very careful to preserve yourself in the best condition of health, that you may render to God perfect service, and do your duty in society and to your family. Then, even health reformers can eat immoderately of a healthy quality of food. They can err in the quantity. Some in this house err in the quality. They have never taken their position upon health reform. They have chosen to eat and drink what they pleased, and when they pleased. They are injuring their systems in this way. They are tearing down their systems, and injuring their families, by placing upon their tables a feverish diet, which will increase the animal passions of their children, and lead them to care but little for heavenly things. The parents are thus strengthening the animal, and lessening the spiritual, powers of their children. And what a heavy penalty will they have to pay in the end! And then they wonder that the children are so morally weak!
Parents have not given their children the right education. They have frequently manifested the same imperfections which are upon the children. They have eaten improperly, which has called the nervous energies of the being to the stomach, therefore they could not have vitality to expend in other directions. They could not properly control their children, because of their own impatience. Neither could they teach them the right way. Perhaps they would take hold of them roughly, and give them an impatient blow. I have said that to shake a child would shake two evil spirits in, while it would shake one out. If a child is wrong, to shake it only makes it worse. It will not subdue it. When the system is not in a right condition, the circulation broken up, and the nervous power has all that it can do to take care of the bad quality of food, or too great quantity even of that which is good, parents have not self-command. They cannot reason from cause to effect. Here is the reason that, in every move they make in their families, they create more trouble than they cure. They do not seem to understand and reason from cause to effect, and they go to work just like blind men. They seem to act as though it would especially glorify God for them to move like wild men, and if anything wrong should occur in their families, to put it down with roughness and violence. Who are our children? They are only our younger brothers and sisters of the family that God acknowledges as his. We are dealing with the members of the Lord's family. And while the care of them is committed to us, how careful should we be that we bring them up for the Lord, so that when the Master comes we can say, "Here, Lord, are we, and the children that thou has given us." Shall we then be able to say, We have tried to do our work, and we have tried to do it well?
I have seen mothers of large families, who in the family could not see the work that lay right in their pathway, just before them. They wanted to be missionaries, and do some great work. They were looking out for themselves some high position, but neglecting to take care of the very work at home which the Lord had left them to do. How important that the brain be clear! How important that the body be as free as possible from disease, in order that we may do the work which Heaven has left for us to do, and to perform it in such a manner that the Master can say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." My sisters, do not despise the few things which the Lord has left you to do. Let each day's actions be such that you will not be ashamed to meet the record made by the recording angel, in the day of the final settlement of accounts.
But what about an impoverished diet? I have spoken of the importance of the quantity and quality of food being in strict accordance with the laws of health. We would not recommend an impoverished diet. I have been shown that many take a wrong view of the health reform, and live upon an impoverished diet. They subsist upon a cheap, poor quality of food, prepared without care or reference to the nourishing of the system. It is important that the food should be prepared with care, that the appetite, when not perverted, can relish it. The idea should never be given that it is of but little consequence what we eat, because we, from principle, leave meat, butter, mince pies, spices, lard, and that which irritates the stomach and destroys health. There are some who go to extremes. They must eat just such an amount, and just such a quality, and confine themselves to two or three things. They allow only a few things placed before them, or their families, to eat. In eating a small amount of food, and that not of the best quality, they do not take into the stomach that which will suitably nourish the system. And the system cannot convert poor food into good blood. An impoverished diet will impoverish the blood. I will mention the case of Sr. Hartshorn, of Amherst, N. H. That case was presented to me to show an extreme. Two classes were presented before me: First, those who were not living up to the light God had given them. They started in the reform because somebody else did. They did not understand the system for themselves. There are many of you who profess the truth, who have received it because somebody else did, and you could not, for your life, give the reason. This is why you are as weak as water. Instead of your weighing your motives in the light of eternity, instead of your having practical knowledge of the principles underlying all your actions, instead of your having dug down to the bottom, and built upon right foundations for yourself, you are walking in the sparks kindled by somebody else. And you will fail in this, as you have in the health reform. Now if you had moved from principle, you would not have done this. There are two classes. One class cannot be impressed with the necessity of eating and drinking to the glory of God. The indulgence of appetite affects them in all the relations of life. It is seen in their families, in their church, the prayer-meeting, and in the conduct of their children. It has been the curse of their lives. You cannot make them understand the truths of these last days. God has bountifully provided for the sustenance and happiness of all his creatures; and if his laws were never violated, and all acted in harmony with the divine will, health, peace, and happiness, would be experienced, instead of misery and continual evil.
Another class have taken hold of the health reform, who are very severe. They take a position, and will stand stubbornly in that position. They carry nearly everything over the mark. This Sr. Hartshorn was one of these. She was not sympathizing, and loving, and affectionate, like our divine Lord. Justice was nearly all she could see. She carried matters further than Dr. Trall. Her patients had to even leave her, because they could not get enough to eat. Her impoverished diet was giving her impoverished blood.
Flesh-meats will depreciate the blood. Cook meat with spices, and eat it with rich cakes and pies, and you have a bad quality of blood. The system is too heavily taxed in disposing of this kind of food. Mince pies, which should never find a place in any human stomach, and the pickles, which never should have any place there, will give a miserable quality of blood. And then a poor quality of food, cooked in an improper manner, and not sufficient in quantity, cannot make good blood. Flesh-meats, and rich food, and an impoverished diet, will produce the same results.
Now in regard to milk and sugar: I know of persons who have become frightened at the health reform, and said they would have nothing to do with it because it has spoken against a free use of these things. Changes should be made with great care. And we should seek to move cautiously and wisely. We want to take that course which can recommend itself to the intelligent men and women of the land. Large quantities of sugar and milk eaten together are injurious. They impart impurities to the system. Animals from which milk is obtained, are not always healthy. They may be diseased. A cow may be apparently well in the morning, and die before night. Then she was diseased in the morning, and her milk was diseased, but you did not know it. The animal creation is diseased. Flesh-meats are diseased. Could we know that animals were in perfect health, I would recommend people to eat flesh-meats sooner than to eat large quantities of sugar and milk. It would not do you the injury that sugar and milk do. Sugar clogs the system. It hinders the working of the living machine. There was one case in Montcalm County to which I will refer. The individual was a noble man. He stood six feet, and was of noble appearance. I was called to visit him in his sickness. But previous to this, I conversed with him in regard to his manner of living. I do not like the looks of your eyes, said I. He was eating large quantities of sugar. I asked him why he did this? He said that he had left off meat, and did not know what would supply its place as well as sugar. His food did not satisfy him. It was simply because his wife did not know how to cook. Some of you send your daughters, who have nearly grown to the size of women, to school to learn the sciences before they know how to cook. It is of the first importance to teach them to cook. Here was a woman who did not know how to cook. She had not learned to prepare healthful food. The cooking was poor in that house. The wife and mother was deficient in this important branch of education, and as the result, poorly-cooked food not being sufficient to sustain the demands of the system, sugar was eaten immoderately, which brought on a diseased condition of the entire system. This man's life was sacrificed unnecessarily to bad cooking. When I went to see the sick man, I tried to tell them as well as I could how to manage, and soon he began to improve slowly. He imprudently exercised his strength when not able, ate a small amount not of the right quality, and was taken down again. This time there was no help for him. His system appeared to be a living mass of corruption. He died a victim to poor cooking. He tried to make sugar supply the place of good cooking, and it only made matters worse.
I frequently sit down to the tables of the brethren and sisters, and see that they use a great amount of sugar and milk. These clog the system, irritate the digestive organs, and affect the brain. Anything that hinders the active motion of the living machinery, affects the brain very directly. And from the light I have, a large use of sugar is more injurious than meat. These changes should be made cautiously, and the subject should be treated in a manner not calculated to disgust and prejudice those we would teach and help.
In regard to an impoverished diet, our sisters often do not know how to cook. To such I would say, I would go to the very best cook that could be found in the country, and remain there if necessary for weeks, until I had become mistress of the art, an intelligent, skillful cook. I would pursue this course if I was forty years old. It is your duty to know how to cook. It is your duty to teach your daughters to cook. And when you are teaching them the art of cookery, you are building around them a barrier that will preserve them from folly, and from vice, which they may otherwise be tempted to engage in. I prize my seamstress, I value my copyist; but my cook, who knows well how to prepare the food to sustain life, and nourish brain, bone, and muscle, fills the most important place among the helpers in my family.
Mothers, there is nothing that leads to such evils as to lift the burdens from off your daughters, and give them nothing especial to do, and let them choose their own employment, perhaps a little crochet, or some fancy work, to busy themselves. Let them have exercise of the limbs and muscles. If it wearies them, what then? Are you not wearied in your work? Will weariness hurt your children unless overworked more than it hurts you? Weariness will not hurt them. They can recover from their weariness in a good night's rest, and be prepared to engage in labor the next day. It is a sin to let them grow up in idleness. The sin and ruin of Sodom was abundance of bread and idleness.
We want to work from the right standpoint. We want to act like men and women that are to be brought into Judgment. And when we take health reform, take it from a sense of duty, not because somebody else has adopted it. I have not changed my course a particle since I adopted the health reform. I have not taken one step back since the light from Heaven upon this subject first shone upon my pathway. I broke away from everything at once—from meat, butter, from the three meals, while engaged in exhausting brain labor, writing from early morn till sundown. I came down to the two meals a day, without changing my labor. I have had five shocks of paralysis. I have been a sufferer from disease. I have been with this my left arm bound to my side for months, because the pain in my heart was so great. When making these changes in my diet, I refused to yield to taste, and let that govern me. Shall that stand in my way of securing a greater growth of strength, that I may therewith glorify my Lord? Shall that stand in my way for a moment? Never! I suffered keen hunger. I was a great meat-eater. But when faint I placed my arms across my stomach, and said, I will not taste a morsel. I will eat simple food, or I will not eat at all. Bread was distasteful to me. I could seldom eat a piece as large as a dollar. Some things in the reform I could get along with very well. But when I came to the bread, I was especially set against it. When I made these changes I had a special battle to fight. The first two or three meals, I could not eat. I said to my stomach, You may wait until you can eat bread. In a little while I could eat bread, and graham bread too. This I could not eat before. But now it tastes good, and I have had no loss of appetite.
When writing Spiritual Gifts, volumes three and four, I would become exhausted by excessive labor. I then saw that I must change my course of life, and by resting a few days I came out all right again. I left off these things from principle. I took my stand on health reform from principle. And since that time, brethren, you have not heard me advance an extreme view of health reform that I have had to take back. I have advanced nothing but what I stand to to-day. I recommend to you healthful, nourishing diet.
I do not regard it a great privation to leave off those things which leave a bad smell in the breath, and bad taste in the mouth. Is it self-denial to leave these things, and get into a condition where everything is as sweet as honey? and no bad taste is left in the mouth? and no feeling of goneness in the stomach? These I used to have much of the time. I have fainted away with my child in my arms, time and again. I have none of this now; and shall I call this a privation, when I can stand before you as I do this day? There is not one woman in a hundred that can endure the amount of labor that I do. I moved out from principle, not from impulse. I moved because I believed Heaven would approve of the course I was taking to bring myself into the very best condition of health, that I might glorify God in my body and spirit which are his.
We can have a variety of food, wholesome food, cooked in a healthful manner, so that it can be made palatable to all. And, if you, my sisters, do not know how to cook, I advise you to learn. It is of vital importance to you that you know how to cook. There are more souls lost from poor cooking than you have any idea of. This produces sickness, disease, and bad tempers. The system is deranged, and heavenly things cannot be discerned. More depends upon cooking than you are aware of. There is more religion in a loaf of good bread than many of you think. There is more religion in good cooking than many of you have any idea of. We want you to learn what good religion is, and carry it out in your families. When I have been from home sometimes, the bread, and the food generally, brought upon the table, I knew would hurt me. But I would have to eat a little to sustain life. I have suffered for want of proper food. It is a sin in the sight of Heaven to have such food. For a dyspeptic stomach you may place upon your tables fruits of different kinds, but not too many at one meal. You may have a variety in this way, and it will taste good, and after you have eaten your meals, you will feel well.
I am astonished to learn that, after all the light that has been given in this place, many of you eat between meals! You should never let a morsel pass your lips, between your regular meals. Eat what you ought, but eat it at one meal, and then wait until the next meal. I eat enough to satisfy the wants of nature; but my appetite, when I get up from the table, is just as good as when I sat down. And when the next meal comes, I am ready to take my portion, and no more. Should I eat a double amount now and then, because it tastes good, how could I bow down, and ask God to help me in my work of writing, when I could not get an idea on account of my gluttony? Could I ask God to take care of that unreasonable load upon my stomach? That would be dishonoring him. That would be asking to consume upon my lust. Now I eat just what I think is right, and then I can ask him to give me strength to perform the work that he has given me to do. And I have known that my prayers have been answered. I have known that Heaven has heard my prayer, when I have offered this petition.
Again, when we eat immoderately, we sin against our own bodies. And Sabbath days, in the house of God, sitting under the burning truths of his word, gluttons will sit and sleep. They cannot keep their eyes open. And there they sit, and cannot comprehend nor understand the solemn discourses given. Do you think such are glorifying God in their bodies and spirits, which are his? No; they dishonor him. And the dyspeptic—what has made him dyspeptic, is taking this course. You have let appetite control you, not observing regularity, but eaten between meals. And perhaps your habits are sedentary. You have not had the vitalizing air of Heaven to help in the work of digestion. You have not had exercise that would be beneficial to your health. You feel as though you would like to have somebody tell you how much to eat. This is not the way it should be. We are to act from a moral and religious standpoint. We are to be temperate in all things, because an incorruptible crown is before us, and an heavenly treasure.
And now I would say to my brethren and sisters, I would have that moral courage to take my position, and see that I had moral courage to govern myself. I should not want to put that on somebody else. You sit down and eat too much, and then you are sorry. You have eaten too much, and so you keep thinking upon what you eat and drink. Just eat that which is for the best, and go right away, and feel clear in the sight of Heaven, and not have remorse of conscience. We do not believe in removing temptations entirely away from children, or any human beings. We all have a warfare before us, and must stand in a position to resist the temptations of Satan. We want to know that we possess the power in ourselves that we can do this.
And while we would caution you not to overeat, even of the best quality of food, we would also caution those that are extremists not to raise their false standard, and then endeavor to bring everybody up to it. There are some who are starting out as health reformers who are not good for any other enterprise, and not having sense enough to take care of their own families, or keep their proper place in the church. And what do they do? Why they fall back as physicians in the health reform, as though they could make that a success, and take the lives of human beings into their own hands. They assume the responsibilities of their practice, taking the lives of men and women into their hands, when they really do not know anything about the business.
My voice shall be raised against novices engaged in practicing the health reform, and undertaking to treat disease. God forbid that we should be the subjects for them to experiment upon! We are too few. It is altogether too inglorious a warfare for us to die in. We cannot afford to let them kill us in this way. Let those try to treat disease who know something about the human system. God deliver us from such dangers! We do not need such teachers and physicians. The heavenly Physician was full of compassion. This spirit is needed with those who deal with the sick. Some who undertake to become physicians, are bigoted, selfish, and mulish. You cannot teach them anything. It may be they have never done anything worth doing. They may not have made life a success. They know nothing really worth knowing, and yet they have started up to practice the health reform. We cannot afford to let such persons kill off this one and the other. No; we cannot afford it!
We want to be just right every time. We want to bring our people up to the right position on the health reform. "Let us," says the apostle, "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." We must be right, to stand in the last days. We need clear brains, sound minds in sound bodies. We should begin to work in earnest for our children, for every member of our families. Shall we take hold of the work, and work from the right standpoint? Jesus is coming; and if you pursue a course to blind yourselves to the soul-elevating truths of these last days, how can you be sanctified through the truth? How can you be prepared for immortality? May the Lord help us, that we may commence to work here as never before.
We have spoken of having a series of meetings here. We have spoken of taking hold here for the people. But we dare not put our arms under to lift you. We want you to commence this work of reformation in your own houses. We want those that have been on the background to come right up. We want you to begin to work. And when we see that you have hold of the labor for yourselves, we will come in and lift. We hope to reform your children, that they may be converted to Christ, and that the spirit of reformation may spread all through your midst. But when you appear twice dead, and ready to be plucked up by the roots, we dare not undertake the work. We would rather go to an unbelieving congregation where there are hearts to receive the truth. The burden of the truth is upon us. There are enough to hear the truth; and we long to be where we can speak it to them. Will you help us by going to work for yourselves?
May the Lord help you to feel as you have never felt before. May the Lord help you to die to self, and get the spirit of reformation in your houses, that the angels of God may come into your midst to minister unto you, and that you may be fitted up for translation to Heaven.
At the time of the yearly Conference at Adams Center, N. Y., Oct. 25, 1868, I was shown that the brethren in —— were in great perplexity and distress because of the course pursued by —— —— and —— ——. Those who have the cause of God at heart, can but feel jealous for its prosperity. I was shown that these men were not reliable. They were extremists. They would run the health reform into the ground. They were not pursuing a course which would tend to correct, or reform, those who are intemperate in their diet; but their influence would disgust believers and unbelievers, and drive them further from reform, instead of bringing them nearer to it.
Our views differ widely from the world in general. They are not popular. The masses will reject any theory, however reasonable it may be, if it lays a restriction upon the appetite. The taste is consulted instead of reason and health. All who leave the common track of custom, and advocate reform, will be opposed, accounted mad, insane, radical, let them pursue ever so consistent a course. But when men advocate reform, and carry the matter to extremes, and are inconsistent in their course of action, men and women are not to blame if they do become disgusted with the health reform. These extremists do a greater work of injury in a few months than they can undo in their whole lives. By them the entire theory of our faith is brought into disrepute, and they can never bring those who witness such exhibitions of so-called health reform to think there is anything good in it. These men are doing a work which Satan loves to see go on.
Those who advocate unpopular truth, should be the most consistent in their lives, and should be extremely careful to shun everything like extreme. They should not labor to see how far they can take their position from other men; but, otherwise, to see how near they can come to those they wish to reform, that they may help them to the position which they so highly prize. If they feel thus, they will pursue a course which will recommend the truth they advocate to the good judgment of candid, sensible men and women. They will be compelled to acknowledge that there is a consistency in the subject of health reform.
I was shown the course of —— —— in his own family. He has been severe and overbearing. He adopted the health reform, as advocated by Bro. ——, and, like him, took extreme views of the subject; and not having a well-balanced mind, he has made terrible blunders, the results of which time will not efface. He commenced to carry out the theory he had heard advocated by Bro. ——, aided by items gathered from books. He made a point, like Bro. ——, of bringing all up to the standard he had erected. He brought his own family to his rigid rules, but failed to control his own animal propensities. He failed here to bring himself to the mark, and to keep his body under. If he had correct knowledge of the system of health reform, he knew that his wife was not in a condition to give birth to healthy children. His own unsubdued passions had borne sway without reasoning from cause to effect. Before the birth of his children, he did not treat his wife as a woman in her condition should be treated. He carried out his rigid rules for her, according to Bro. ——'s ideas, which proved a great injury to her. He did not provide the quality and quantity of food that was necessary to nourish two lives instead of one. Another life was dependent upon her, and her system did not receive the vitality it needed, from nutritious, wholesome food, to sustain her strength. There was a lack in the quantity and quality. Her system required changes, variety, and a quality of food that was more nourishing. Her children were born with feeble nutritive powers, and impoverished blood. The mother, from the food she was compelled to receive, could not furnish a good quality of blood, and she gave birth to children filled with humors.
The course pursued by the husband, the father of these children, deserves the severest censure. His wife suffered from want of wholesome, nutritious food. She did not have sufficient food and clothing to make her comfortable. She has borne a burden which has been galling to bear. He became, to his wife, God, conscience, and will. There are natures which will rebel against this assumed authority. They will not submit to such surveillance. They become weary of the pressure, and rise above it. It was not so in this case. She has endured his being conscience for her, and tried to feel that it was for the best. But outraged nature could not be so easily subdued. Her demands were earnest. The cravings of her nature for something more nourishing, led her to use entreaty; but without effect. Her wants were few, but they were not considered. Two children have been sacrificed to his blind errors and ignorant bigotry. Should men of intelligent minds treat dumb animals in regard to food, as he has treated his wife, the community would take the matter into their own hands, and bring them to justice.
In the first place, —— —— should not have committed so great a crime as to bring into being offspring who, reason must teach him, would be diseased, because they must receive a miserable legacy from their parents. They have transmitted to them a bad inheritance. The blood of the children must be filled with scrofulous humors, from both parents, especially the father, whose habits have been such as to corrupt the blood, and enervate his whole system. Not only must these poor children take the scrofula taint in a double sense, but what is worse, they will bear the mental and moral deficiencies of the father, and the lack of noble independence, moral courage and force, in the mother. The world is already cursed by the increase of beings of this stamp, who must fall lower in the scale than their parents, in physical, mental, and moral strength, for their condition and surroundings are not even as favorable as were those of their parents.
—— —— is not capable of taking care of a family. He should never have had one. His marriage was all a mistake. He has made a life of misery for his wife, and has accumulated misery by having children born to them. This man cannot sustain a family as they ought to be sustained. Some of them exist, and that is about all.
No persons professing to be Christians should enter the marriage relation until the matter has been carefully and prayerfully considered from an elevated standpoint, to see if God can be glorified by the union. Then they should duly consider the result of every privilege of the marriage relation, and sanctified principle should be the basis of every action. In the increase of their family they should take into consideration whether God would be glorified or dishonored by their bringing children into the world. They should seek to glorify God at their first union, and during every year of their married life. They should calmly consider what provision can be made for their children. They have no right to bring children into the world to be a burden to others. Have they a business that they can rely upon to sustain a family, so that they need not become a burden to others? If they have not, they commit a crime in bringing children into the world to suffer for want of proper care, food and clothing. In this fast, corrupt age these things are not considered. Lustful passion bears sway, and will not submit to control, although feebleness, misery and death, are the result of its reign. Women are forced to a life of hardship, pain and suffering, because of the uncontrollable passions of men who bear the name of husband—more rightly could they be called brutes. Mothers drag out a miserable existence, with children in their arms nearly all the time, managing every way to put bread into their mouths, and clothes upon their backs. Such accumulated misery fills the world.
There is but little real, genuine, devoted, pure love. This precious article is very rare. Passion is termed love. Many a woman has had her fine and tender sensibilities outraged because the marriage relation allowed him, whom she called husband, to be brutal in his treatment of her. His love she found was of so base and low a quality that she was disgusted.
Very many families are living in a most unhappy state, because the husband and father allows the animal in his nature to predominate over the intellectual and moral. The result is that a sense of languor and depression is frequently felt, but the cause is seldom divined as being the result of their own improper course of action. We are under solemn obligations to God to keep the spirit pure, and the body healthy, that we may be of benefit to humanity, and render to God perfect service. The apostle warns, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." He urges us onward, by telling us that "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." He exhorts all who call themselves by the name of Christian, to present their bodies "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God." He says, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
There is an error generally committed in making no difference in the life of a woman previous to the birth of her children than if she were in other conditions. At this important period the labor of the mother should be lightened. Great changes are going on in her system. Her system requires a greater amount of blood, and therefore requires an increase of food of the most nourishing quality, to convert into blood. Unless she has an abundant supply of nutritious food, she cannot retain her physical strength, and her offspring is robbed of vitality. The clothing demands attention. Care should be taken to protect the body from a sense of chilliness. She should not call vitality unnecessarily to the surface, to supply the want of sufficient clothing. If the mother is deprived of an abundance of wholesome, nutritious food, she will lack in the quantity and quality of blood. Her circulation will be poor, and her child will lack in the very things where she has lacked. There will be an inability in the offspring to appropriate food that will nourish the system, and which it can convert into good blood. The prosperity of mother and child depends much upon good, warm clothing, and a supply of nourishing food. There is an extra draft upon the vitality of the mother, which must be considered and provided for.
But on the other hand, the idea that women, because of their special conditions, may let the appetite run riot, is a mistake based on custom, but not sound sense. The appetite of women in this condition may be variable, fitful, and difficult to gratify. And custom allows her to have anything she may fancy, without consulting reason whether such food can supply nutrition for her body, and for the growth of her child. The food should be nutritious, but should not be of an exciting quality. Custom says if she wants flesh-meats, pickles, spiced food, or mince pies, let her have them. Appetite alone is to be consulted. This is a great mistake, and does much harm. The harm cannot be estimated. If ever there is necessity of simplicity of diet and special care as to the quality of food eaten, it is in this important period.
Women who possess principle, and are well instructed, will not depart from simplicity of diet at this time of all others. They should consider that another life is dependent upon them, and should be careful in all their habits, and especially in diet. They should not eat that which is innutritious and exciting, simply because it tastes well. There are too many counselors to persuade to do things they ought not, and which reason would tell them is not the best way.
Children are born to parents, diseased, because of the gratification of the appetite. The system did not demand the variety of food upon which the mind dwelt. Because once in the mind it must be in the stomach, is a great error, which Christian women should reject. Imagination should not be allowed to control the wants of the system. Those who allow the taste to rule, will suffer the penalty of the transgressions of the laws of their beings. And the matter does not end here; their innocent offspring will be sufferers also.
The blood-making organs cannot convert spices, mince pies, pickles, and diseased flesh-meats into good blood. And if so much food is taken into the stomach that the digestive organs are compelled to overlabor, in order to dispose of it, and free the system from the substances which are irritating, the mother does injustice to herself, and is laying the foundation of disease in her offspring. If she chooses to eat as she pleases, and what she may fancy, irrespective of consequences, she will bear the penalty, but not alone. Her innocent child must suffer because of her indiscretion.
Great care should be exercised to have the surroundings of the mother pleasant and happy. The husband and father is laid under special responsibility to do all in his power to lighten the burden of the wife and mother. He should bear, as much as possible, the burden of her condition. He should be especially attentive to all her wants, affable, courteous, kind, and tender. Not half the care is taken of some women while they are bearing children, that there is taken of animals in the stable.
—— —— has been very deficient. His wife was not provided with wholesome food, and a plenty of it, and proper clothing, while in her best condition of health. Then, when she needed extra clothing and extra food, and that of a simple, yet nutritious, quality, it was not allowed her. Her system craved material to convert into blood; but he would not provide it. A moderate amount of milk and sugar, a little salt, white bread raised with yeast, for a change, graham flour prepared by other hands than her own, in a variety of ways, plain cake with raisins cooked in it, rice pudding with raisins, prunes, and figs, occasionally, and many dishes I might mention, would have answered the demand of appetite. If he could not obtain some of these things mentioned, a little domestic wine would have done her no injury, but would have been better than for her to have done without it. In some cases, even a small amount of the least hurtful meat would do less injury than to suffer strong cravings for it.
I was shown that both —— —— and —— —— have dishonored the cause of God. They have brought a stain upon the cause, which will never be fully wiped out.
I was shown the family of our dear Bro. ——. If this brother had received proper help at the right time, every member of his family would have been alive to-day. It is a wonder that the laws of the land have not been enforced in this instance of maltreatment. That family were perishing for food—the plainest, simplest food. They were starving in a land of plenty. A novice was practicing upon them. The young man did not die of disease, but of hunger. Food would have strengthened the system, and kept the machinery in motion.
In cases of severe fever, abstinence from food, for a short time, will lessen the fever, and make the use of water more effectual. The one who is acting physician needs to understand the real condition of the patient, that he should not be restricted in diet for a great length of time until his system becomes enfeebled. While the fever is raging, food may irritate and excite the blood to a greater degree; but as soon as the strength of the fever is broken, nourishment should be given in a careful, judicious manner. If food is withheld too great a length of time, the stomach's craving for it will create fever, which a proper allowance of food, of a proper quality, will relieve. It gives nature something to work upon. If there is a great desire expressed for food, even during the fever, to gratify that desire with a moderate amount of simple food, would be less injurious than for the patient to be denied. When the patient can get his mind upon nothing else but food, nature will not be overburdened with a small portion of simple food.
Those who take the lives of others in their hands, must be men who have been marked as making life a success. They must be men of judgment and wisdom. They must be men who can sympathize, and feel to the depths—men whose whole being is stirred when they witness suffering. Some men who have been unsuccessful in every other enterprise in life, take up the business of a physician. They take the lives of men and women in their hands, when they have had no experience. They will read a plan somebody has followed with success, and adopt it, and will practice upon those who have confidence in them, and actually destroy the spark of life that is left in them, yet do not, after all, learn anything, but will go on as sanguine in the next case, observing the same rigid treatment. Some may have a power of constitution to withstand the terrible tax imposed upon them, and live. Then the novices take the glory to themselves when none is due them. Everything is due to God and a powerful constitution.
Bro. —— has been occupying an unworthy position in standing as a prop for ——. He has been mind for him, and has stood by to sustain and back him up. These two men are fanatics on the subject of health reform.
Bro. —— knows much less than he thinks he does. He is deceived in himself. He is selfish and bigoted in carrying out his views. He is not teachable. He has not had a subdued will. He is not a man of humble mind. Such a man has no business to be a physician.
He may have some little knowledge of practice by reading; but this is not enough. Experience is necessary. We, as a people, are too few to sacrifice our lives so cheaply and ingloriously as to submit to be experimented upon by such men. Many precious ones would fall a sacrifice to their rigid views and notions—altogether too many—before they would give up, confess their errors, and learn wisdom by experience.
Bro. —— is too set, and willful, and unteachable, for the Lord to use, to do any special work in his cause. He is too set and stubborn to let a few sacrificed lives change his course. He would maintain his views and notions all the more earnestly.
These men will yet learn, to their sorrow, that they might better be teachable, and not take the extreme views, and drive them, whatever the result may be. The community will be just as well off, and a little safer upon the whole, if both these men obtain employment in some other business, where life and health will not be endangered by their course of action.
It is a great responsibility to take the life of a human being in hand. Then to have that precious life sacrified through mismanagement, is dreadful. The case of Bro. ——'s family is terrible. These men may excuse their course; but that will not save the cause of God from reproach, nor bring back that son who suffered and died for the want of food. A little good wine and food would have brought him up from a bed of death, and given him back to his family. The father would soon have been numbered with the dead, if the same course had been continued which had been pursued toward the son. But the presence and timely counsel of Dr. Lay, from the Health Institute, saved him.
It is time that something was done, that novices may not be allowed to take the field, and advocate health reform. Their works and words can be spared; for they do more injury than the wisest and most intelligent men, with the best influence they can exert, can counteract. It is impossible for the best qualified advocates of health reform to fully relieve the minds of the public from the prejudice received through the wrong course of these extremists, and to place the great subject of health reform upon the right basis in the community where these men have figured. The door is also closed in a great measure, so that unbelievers cannot be reached by the present truth upon the Sabbath, and the soon-coming of our Saviour. The most precious truths are cast aside by the people as unworthy of a hearing. These men are referred to as representatives of health reformers and Sabbath-keepers in general. A great responsibility rests upon those who have thus proved a stumblingblock to unbelievers.
Bro. —— needs a thorough conversion. He does not see himself. If he possessed less self-esteem, and more humility of mind, his knowledge could be put to a practical use. He has a work to do for himself which no other can do for him. He will not yield his views nor judgment to any man living unless compelled to do so. He has traits of character which are most unfortunate, which should be overcome. He is more accountable than —— ——. His case is worse than his; for he possesses more intellect and knowledge. —— —— has been the shadow of his mind.
Bro. —— has a very set will. His likes and dislikes are very strong. If he starts on a wrong track, and follows the bent of his mind, not moving in wisdom, and his error is presented before him, and he knows he is not right, he will have such a reluctance to acknowledge that he has been in error, and has pursued a wrong course, that he will frame some kind of an excuse to make others believe he is, after all, about right. This is the reason he has been left to follow his own judgment and wisdom, which are foolishness.
In his father's family he has not been a blessing, but a cause of anxiety and sorrow. His will was not subdued in childhood. He has such a reluctance to acknowledge frankly that he has made mistakes and done wrong, that, to get out of a difficulty, he would set the powers of his mind at work to invent some excuse that he flattered himself was not a direct lie, rather than to humble himself sufficiently to confess his wrong. This habit has been brought along with him into his religious experience. He has a peculiar faculty of turning away a point by pleading forgetfulness when, many times, he chooses to forget.
His relations and friends might have been brought into the truth, if he had been what God would have him to be. His set ways have made him disagreeable. He has used the truth as subject to quarrel over. He has talked Bible subjects in his father's family, which he was opposed to, and used the most objectionable subjects to quarrel over, instead of seeking in all humbleness of mind, and with an undying love for souls, to win to the truth, and bring to the light.
When he has pursued a wrong course, evidently unbecoming a disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus, and known that his words and acts were not in accordance with the sanctifying influence of truth, he has mulishly stood in his own defense, until his honesty has been questioned. He has made the most precious truth for these last days, disgusting to his friends and relatives. He has proved a stumblingblock to them. His evasions, his bigotry, and the extreme views he has taken, have turned more souls away from the truth, than his best endeavors have brought to the truth.
His combativeness, firmness, and self-esteem, are large. He cannot bless any church with his influence until he is converted. He can see the faults of others, and question the course of this one and that one, if they do not fully endorse what he may present; but if any one receives what he advocates, he cannot, and will not, see their faults and errors. This is not right. He may be correct upon many points, but he has not the mind which dwelt in Jesus Christ. When he can see himself as he is, and will correct the defects in his character, then he will be in a position to let his light so shine before men that they, by seeing his good works, may be led to glorify our Father who is in Heaven. His light has shone in such a manner that men have pronounced it darkness, and turned from it in disgust. Self, in him, must die, and he must possess a teachable spirit, or he will be left to follow his own ways, and be filled with his own doings.
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth."
"Speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers [not talking the truth in a boasting, triumphant manner]; but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men."
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."
Bro. —— wants his mind to control others; and unless he can have this privilege, he is dissatisfied. He is not a peacemaker. His course will cause more confusion and distrust in a church than any ten can counteract. His peculiar temperament is such that he will be picking flaws, and finding fault with all around but himself. He will not prosper until he learns the lesson that he ought to have learned years ago, humbleness of mind. At his age he will learn this lesson at much cost to self. He has all his life been trying to build up himself, save himself, preserve his own life, and he has lost his labor every time.
What Bro. —— needs is, to take away the deceptive gloss from his eyes, and to look, with eyes enlightened by the Spirit of God, into his own heart to test his motives, to weigh every move, and let not Satan put a false coloring upon his course of action. His position is extremely perilous. He will turn soon, either decidedly to the right, or he will go on deceiving others, and deceiving himself. Bro. —— needs to have his inmost soul converted. He needs to be subdued, transformed by the renewing of his mind. Then he can do good. But he can never come into the light until he encourages a spirit of humble confession, and takes hold with earnest decision to right his wrongs, and, as far as he can, do away the reproach he has brought upon the cause of God.
DEAR BRO. AND SR. ——: It has been some length of time since I have taken my pen to write, with the exception of penning urgent letters which could not be delayed. I have had a discouraging weight upon my spirits for months, which has nearly crushed me. That which discourages me the most, is, the fear that all I may write will do no more good than our earnest, anxious, wearing labor, the past winter and spring, in ——. The hopeless view I have taken of matters and things at ——, has kept my pen nearly still, and my voice nearly silent. My hands have been weakened, and my heart depressed, to see nothing gained by the protracted effort there. I am nearly hopeless in regard to our efforts' being successful to awaken the sensibilities of our Sabbath-keeping people to see the elevated position God requires them to occupy. They do not view religious things from an elevated standpoint. This is just your condition.
The Lord has given me a view of some of the corruptions existing everywhere. Wickedness, crime, and sensuality, exist even in high places. Even in the churches professing to keep God's commandments, there are sinners and hypocrites. It is sin, not trial and sufferings, which separates God from his people, and renders the soul incapable of enjoying and glorifying him. It is sin that is destroying souls. Sin and vice exist in Sabbath-keeping families. Moral pollution has done more to degenerate the race than every other evil. It is practiced to an alarming extent, and brings on disease of almost every description. Even very small children, infants, being born with natural irritability of the sexual organs, find relief momentarily in handling them, which only increases the irritation, and leads to a repetition of the act, until a habit is established which increases with their growth. These children are generally puny and dwarfed, and are prescribed for by physicians, and they are drugged.
But the evil is not removed. The cause still exists. Parents do not generally suspect that their children understand anything about this vice. Parents are the real sinners in very many cases. They have abused their marriage privileges, and indulged their animal passions, which have strengthened with indulgence. And as the baser passions have strengthened, the moral and intellectual have become weak. The spiritual has been overborne by the brutish. Children are born with the animal largely developed. The parents have given to their children their own stamp of character. The unnatural action of the sensitive organs produces irritation. They are easily excited, and momentary relief is experienced in exercising them. But the evil is constantly increasing. The drain upon the system is sensibly felt. The brain force is weakened. The memory becomes deficient. And children born to these parents will almost invariably take naturally to the disgusting habits of secret vice. The marriage covenant is sacred. But what an amount of crime and lust it covers. Those who feel at liberty, because married, to degrade their bodies by beastly indulgence of the animal passions will have their degraded course perpetuated in their children. The sins of the parents will be visited upon their children, because the parents have given them the stamp of their own lustful propensities.
Those who have become fully established in this soul-and-body-destroying vice, can seldom rest until their burden of secret evil is imparted to those with whom they associate. Curiosity is at once aroused, and the knowledge of vice is passed from youth to youth, from child to child, until there is scarcely one to be found ignorant of the practice of this degrading sin.
Your children have learned and practiced self-abuse until the draught upon the brain has been so great, especially in the case of your eldest son, that their minds have been seriously injured. The brilliancy of youthful intellect is dimmed. The moral and intellectual powers have become weakened, while the baser parts of their nature have been gaining the ascendency.
As this is the case with your son, he turns with loathing from religious and devotional things. He has been losing his power of self-restraint. He has less and less reverence for sacred things, and less respect for any thing of a spiritual character. You have charged this to your surroundings. You have not known the real cause. Your son can be said to bear the impress of the satanic, instead of the divine. He loves sin and evil, rather than true goodness, purity, and righteousness. It is a deplorable picture.
The effect of such debasing habits upon the minds of all is not the same. There are some children, who have the moral powers largely developed, who, by associating with children that practice self-abuse, become initiated into this vice. The effects upon such will be too frequently to make them melancholy, irritable, and jealous, yet such may not lose their respect for religious worship, and may not show special infidelity in regard to spiritual things. They suffer keenly at times, with feelings of remorse. They feel degraded in their own eyes, and lose their self-respect.
Brother and sister, you are not clear before God. You have failed to do your duty at home, in your own family. You have not controlled your children. You have greatly failed to know and do the will of God, and the blessing of God has not rested upon your family. Bro. ——, you have been selfish. You have had large self-esteem. You have thought you possessed a good degree of humility, but you have not understood yourself. Your ways are not right before God. Your influence and example have not been in accordance with your profession. You have much fault to find with others. You see the deviations in them, but are blind to the same in yourself.
Sr. —— has been far from God. Her heart has not been subdued by grace. Her love of the world, and of the things that are in the world, has closed her heart to the love of God. The love of dress, of appearance, has kept her from good, and led her to place her mind and affections upon these frivolous things. Unbelief has been gaining strength in her heart, and she has had less and less love for the truth, and could see but little attraction in the simplicity of true godliness.
She has not encouraged a growth of the Christian graces. She has not had love for humility or devotion. She has taken the errors of those who professed to be devoted to the truth, and made their lack of spirituality, their errors, and their sins, an excuse for her world-loving disposition. She has watched the course of those who were connected with the ——, and who were forward to take upon them the burdens of the church, and would offset her failures to their wrongs, saying that she was no worse than they. Such an individual in good standing did this or that, and she had as good a right as they. Bro. ——, or some other one, did not live the health reform any better than she. They purchased and ate meat, and they were in high standing in the church, and she was excusable, of course, with such an example, if she did the same. This is not the only case of shielding neglect to follow the light the Lord has given, behind some others. This is to the shame of men and women of intelligent minds, that they have no standard higher than the low standard of imperfect human beings. The course of those around them, however imperfect, is considered by them a sufficient excuse for them to follow in the same course. Many will be swayed by the influence of Bro. ——, or some other leading brother. If these depart from the counsel of God, their example is at once gladly seized by the unconsecrated. They now are free from restraint. They now have an excuse. And their unconsecrated hearts glory in the opportunity of indulging their desires, and taking a step nearer the fellowship with the spirit of the world, to enjoy its pleasures, or to gratify the appetite. They place upon their tables those things which are not the most healthful, and which they have been taught to abstain from, that they may preserve to themselves a better condition of health.
There has been a war in the hearts of some, from the commencement of the introduction of health reform. They have felt the same rebellion as did the children of Israel when their appetites were restricted in their journeying from Egypt to Canaan. Professed followers of Christ, who have consulted their own pleasure, and their own interest, their own ease, their own appetites, all through their lives, are not prepared to change their course of action, and live for the glory of God, imitating the self-sacrificing life of their unerring Pattern. A holy and perfect example is given for Christians to follow and imitate. The words and works of Christ's followers are the channel through which the pure principles of truth and holiness are conveyed to the world. They are the salt of the earth, the light of the world.
Sister ——, you cannot realize the many blessings you have lost by making the failings of others a balm to soothe your conscience for a neglect of your duty. You have been measuring yourself by others. Their crooked paths, their failings, have been your text-book. But their errors and follies and sins, do not make your disobedience to God less sinful.
We regret that those who should be a strength to you in your efforts to overcome your love of self, your pride of heart, your vanity, and love of the approbation of worldlings, have only been a hindrance, by their own lack of spirituality and true godliness. We cannot tell you how much we regret that those who should be self-denying Christians are so far from coming up to the standard. Those who should be steadfast, abounding in the work of God, are weakened by Satan, because they remain at such a distance from God. They obtain not the power of his grace, through which they might overcome the infirmities of their nature, and, by obtaining signal victories in God, show those of weaker faith the way, and the truth, and the life. It has been that which has caused us the greatest discouragement, to see those in —— who have had years of experience in the cause and work of God, shorn of their strength, by their own unfaithfulness. They are outgeneraled by the enemy in nearly every attack. God would have made these persons strong, like faithful sentinels at their post, to guard the fort, had they walked in the light he had given them, and remained steadfast to duty, seeking to know and do the whole will of God. Satan will, I have no doubt, through his delusions, deceive these delinquent souls, and make them believe they are, after all, about right. They have committed no grievous, outbreaking sins, and they must, after all, be on the true foundation, and God will accept their works. They do not see that they have especial sins to repent of. And they see no sins which call for especial humiliation, humble confession, and rending of heart.
The delusion upon such is strong, indeed, when they are so deceived, and mistake the form of godliness for the power thereof, and flatter themselves that they are rich and have need of nothing. The curse of Meroz rests upon them: "Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty."
My sister, excuse not your defects because others are wrong. You will not dare plead in the day of God as an excuse for your lack of forming a character for Heaven, that others did not manifest devotion and spirituality. The same lack which you discovered in others was in yourself. And the fact that others were sinners makes your sins none the less grievous. Both they, and you, if you continue in your present state of unfitness, will be separated from Christ, and be punished, with Satan and his angels, with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.
The Lord made ample provisions for you, that if you would seek him, and follow the light he would give you, you should not fall by the way. The word of God was given to you as a lamp to your feet, a light to your path. If you stumble it is because you have not consulted your guide, the word of God, and made that precious word the rule of your life. God has not given you, as a pattern, the life of any human being, however good, and apparently blameless his life may be. To do as others do, and act as others act, if followed, will leave you with a vast multitude at last outside the holy city, who have done just as you have done, followed a pattern the Lord did not leave them, and are lost, just as you will be lost.
That which others have done, or may do in the future, will not lessen your responsibility or guilt. A pattern has been given you; a faultless life, characterized by self-denial and disinterested benevolence. If you disregard this correct, this perfect Pattern, and take an incorrect one, which has been clearly represented in the word of God, that you should shun, the failure of your life, the imperfection of your course of action, will receive their merited reward.
One of the greatest reasons of the declension on the part of the church at ——, is their measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves. There are but few who have the living principle in the soul, and who serve God with an eye single to his glory. Many at —— will not consent to be saved in God's appointed way. They will not take the trouble to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. The latter they do not experience; and, rather than to be at the trouble of obtaining an individual experience through individual effort, they will run the risk of leaning upon others, and trusting in their experience. They cannot consent to watch and pray, to live for God, and him only. It is more pleasant to live in obedience to self. The church at —— are filled with their own backslidings, and they need not dream of prosperity until those who name the name of Christ are careful to depart from all iniquity; until they learn to refuse the evil and choose the good. We are required to watch and pray without ceasing; for the snare is set in our path, and we find some device of Satan in the time and manner we least expect. If at that particular time we are not watching unto prayer, we are taken by the enemy, and meet with decided loss. What a responsibility has rested upon you, as parents! How little have you felt the weight of this burden! Your pride of heart, love of show, and the indulgence of your appetite, have occupied your minds. These things have been first with you. The incoming of the foe has not been perceived. He has planted his standard in your house, and stamped his detestable image upon the characters of your children. You were so blinded by the god of this world that you could not discern the advantage Satan had gained, nor his workings right in your family. You have been so deadened to spiritual and divine things, that you could not discern the workings of Satan.
You have brought children into the world who have had no voice in regard to their existence. You have made yourselves responsible in a great measure for their future happiness, their eternal well-being. You have a burden upon you, whether you are sensible of it or not, to train these children for God. To watch with jealous care the first approach of the wily foe, and be prepared to raise a standard against him. Build a fortification of prayer and faith about your children, and exercise diligent watching thereunto. You are not secure a moment against the attacks of Satan. You have no time to rest from watchful, earnest labor. You should not sleep a moment at your post. This is a most important warfare. Eternal consequences are involved. It is life or death with you and your family. Your only safety is to break your hearts before God, and seek the kingdom of Heaven as little children. You cannot be overcomers in this warfare if you continue to pursue the course you have done. You are not very near the kingdom of Heaven.
There are some who have not professed Christ, who are nearer the kingdom of God than very many professed Sabbath-keepers in ——. You have not kept yourselves in the love of God, and taught your children the fear of the Lord. You have not taught them the truth diligently, when you rise up, and when you sit down, when you go out, and when you come in. You have not restrained them. You look to other children, and solace yourselves by saying, "My children are no worse than they." This may be true; but does the neglect of others to do their duty, lessen the force of the requirements God has especially enjoined upon you as parents? God has made you responsible to bring these children up for him, and their salvation depends in a large degree upon the education they receive in their childhood. This responsibility others cannot take. It is yours, solely yours, as parents. You may bring to your aid all the helps you can to assist you in the work; but after you have done this, and brought to your aid all the help you can employ to aid you in this solemn and important work, there is a power above every human agency, to work with you, in, through, and by, means it is your privilege to use. God will come to your aid, and upon his power you can rely. This power is infinite. Human agencies may not prove successful; but God can make the human agencies fruitful by working in them, and by them.
You have a work to do to set your house in order. Pure and sinless angels cannot delight to come into your dwelling, where there is so much sin and iniquity practiced. You are asleep at your post. Things of minor importance have occupied your minds, and the things of weightier importance have not engaged your attention. It should be the first business of your life to seek the kingdom of Heaven and the righteousness of God; then you have the promise that all things shall be added. Here is where you have failed in your family. Had you been agonizing, that you and yours might enter in at the strait gate, you would have earnestly gathered every ray of light that the Lord has permitted to shine upon your pathway, and would have cherished and walked in it. You have not regarded the light that has been graciously given you. You have had a spirit of rising up against the light the Lord has given upon health reform. You have seen no importance in it, why you should receive it. You have not felt willing to restrict your appetite. You could not see the wisdom of God in giving light in regard to the restriction of appetite. All that you could discern was the inconvenience attending the denial of the taste. The Lord has let his light shine upon us in these last days, that the gloom and darkness which have been gathering in past generations, because of sinful indulgences, might be dispelled in some degree, and the train of evils which have been the result of intemperate eating and drinking to gratify appetite, might be lessened.
The Lord, in his wisdom, designed to bring his people into a position where they would separate from the world in spirit and practice, then their children would not so readily be led away into idolatry, and become tainted with the prevailing corruptions of this age. It is God's purpose that believing parents and their children should stand forth as living representatives of Christ, candidates for everlasting life. All who are partakers of the divine nature will escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is impossible for those who indulge the gratification of appetite to attain to Christian perfection. You cannot arouse the moral sensibilities of your children while you are not careful in the selection of their food. The tables that parents usually prepare for their children are a snare to them. The diet is not simple, and it is not prepared in a healthful manner. The food is frequently rich and fever-producing, having a tendency to irritate and excite the tender organs of the stomach. The animal passions are strengthened, while the moral and intellectual are weakened. The lower order of passions bears sway, while the moral and intellectual are servants to the baser passions. You should study to prepare a simple yet nutritious diet. Rich cakes, rich pies, prepared with spices, of any kind, and flesh-meats, are not the most healthful and nourishing diet. Eggs should not be placed upon your table. They are an injury to your children. Fruits and grains, prepared in the most simple form, are the most healthful, and will impart the greatest amount of nourishment, and, at the same time, the intellect will be unimpaired.
Regularity in eating is very important for health of body and serenity of mind. Your children should be allowed to eat only at regular meal time. They should not be allowed to digress from this established rule. When you, Sr. ——, absent yourself from home, you cannot control these important matters. Already has your eldest son enervated his entire system, and laid the foundation for permanent disease. Your second child is fast following in his tracks, and not one of your children is safe from this evil.
You may be unable to obtain the truth, in regard to the habits of your children, from them. Those who practice secret vice will lie and deceive. Your children may deceive you, for you are not in a condition where you can know if they attempt to lead you astray. You have been blinded by the enemy so long that you have scarcely a ray of light to discern darkness. There is a great, a solemn, and important work for you to do at once, to set your own hearts and house in order. Your only safe course is, to take right hold of this work. Do not deceive yourselves into the belief that, after all, this matter is placed before you in an exaggerated light. I have not colored the picture. I have stated facts which will bear the test of the Judgment. Awake! awake! I beseech you, before it shall be too late for wrongs to be righted, and you and your children perish in the general ruin. Take hold of the solemn work, and bring to your aid every ray of light you can gather that has shone upon your pathway, and that you have not cherished, and, together with the aid of the light now shining, commence an investigation of your life and character as if before the tribunal of God. "Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul," is the exhortation of the apostle. Vice and corruption are abounding on every hand, and unless there is more than human strength to rely upon to stand against so powerful a current of evil, you will be overcome, and borne down with the current to perdition. Without holiness no man shall see God.
The Lord is proving and testing his people. Angels of God are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. Probation is almost ended, and you are unready. Oh! that the word of warning might burn into your soul. Get ready! get ready! Work while the day lasts, for the night cometh when no man can work. The mandate will go forth, He that is holy, let him be holy still, and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still. The destiny of all will be decided. A few, yes, only a few, of the vast number who people the earth, will be saved unto life eternal, while the masses who have not perfected their souls in obeying the truth, will be appointed for the second death. O Saviour, save the purchase of thy blood, is the cry of my anguished heart. I am in terrible fear for you, and for many who profess to believe the truth in ——. Oh! search, search diligently your own hearts, and make thorough work for the Judgment.
I am pained at heart, when I call to mind how many children of Sabbath-keeping parents are ruining soul and body with this vice. There is a family near you who reveal their evil habits in their bodies, as well as their minds. —— ——s' children are on the direct road to perdition. They are debased. They have instructed very many in this vice. The eldest boy is dwarfed, physically and mentally, through indulging in the practice of this degrading vice. What little intellect he has left is of a low order. If he continues in this vicious practice he will eventually become idiotic. Every indulgence of children who have attained their growth, is a terrible evil, and will produce its terrible results, enervating the system, and weakening the intellect. But in those who indulge this corrupting vice before attaining their growth, the evil effects are more plainly marked, and recovery from the effects of such sinful indulgence more nearly hopeless. The frame is weak and stunted; the muscles are flabby; the eyes become small, and appear at times swollen; the memory is treacherous; the inability to concentrate the thoughts upon study increases; the memory becomes sieve-like. To the parents of these children, I would say, you have brought children into the world which are only a curse to society. Your children are unruly, passionate, quarrelsome, and vicious. Their influence upon others is corrupting. These children bear the stamp of the baser passions of the father. The stamp of his character is placed upon his children. His hasty, violent temper is reflected in his children. These parents should have long ago removed to the country, separating themselves and children from the society of those they could not benefit, but only harm.
Steady industry upon a farm would have proved a blessing to these children, and constant employment, as their strength could bear, would have given them less opportunity to corrupt their own bodies by self-abuse, and would have prevented them from instructing a large number in this hellish practice. Labor is a great blessing to all children, especially to that class whose minds are naturally inclined to vice and depravity. These children have communicated more knowledge of vice in —— than all the united efforts of ministers and people professing godliness can counteract. Many, who have learned of your children will go to perdition rather than control their passions and cease the indulgence of this sin. One corrupt mind can sow more corrupt seed in a short period of time than many in a whole life time can root out. Your children are a by-word in the mouths of blasphemers of the truth. These are the children of Sabbath-keepers. They are worse than the children of worldlings in general. They possess less refinement and self-respect. Bro. —— has been no honor to the cause of God. His impetuous temper, and general influence, have not had a tendency to elevate, but to bring down to a low level. He has brought the cause of God into disrepute by his lack of judgment and refinement. It would have been far better for the cause of truth had this family removed long ago to a less important post, where their influence would have been less felt, because they would be more secluded. These children have lived in the light of truth, and have had privileges that but few children have had, yet all this time they have not been benefited. They have been growing more and more hardened in depravity. A removal would be better for the family, for steady employment upon land would be a blessing to father and children if they would profit by the advantages of farming life. Their removal would be a blessing to the church and to society.
I saw that the family of Bro. —— need a great work done for them. —— and —— have gone to great lengths in this crime of self-abuse; especially is this true of —— who has gone so far in the practice of this sin that his intellect is affected, his eye sight is weakened, and disease is fastening itself upon him. Satan has almost full control of this poor boy's mind. His parents are not awake to see the evil and its results. His mind is debased, his conscience is hardened, his moral sensibilities are benumbed, and he will be a ready victim to be led into sin and crime by evil associates. Bro. and Sr. ——, arouse yourselves, I beg of you. You have not received the light of health reform, and acted upon it. If you had restricted your appetites you would have been saved much extra labor and expense; and what is of vastly more consequence, you would have preserved to yourselves a better condition of health, and a greater degree of physical and intellectual strength to appreciate eternal truths; you would have a clearer brain to weigh the evidences of truth, and be better prepared to give to others a reason of the hope that is in you. Your food is not of that simple, healthful quality to make the best kind of blood. Foul blood will surely becloud the moral and intellectual, and arouse and strengthen the baser passions of your nature. Neither of you can afford a feverish diet, for it is at the expense of the health of the body, and the prosperity of your own souls, and the souls of your children.
You place upon your table food which taxes the digestive organs, and excites the animal passions, and weakens the moral and intellectual. Rich food and flesh-meats are no benefit to you. Could you view just the nature of the meat you eat, the animals, when living, from which the flesh is taken when dead, you would turn with loathing from your flesh-meats. The animals whose flesh you eat, are frequently so diseased, that, if left alone, they would die of themselves; but, while the breath of life is in them, they are killed and brought to market. You take directly into your system humors and poison of the worst kind, and yet you realize it not. You love the indulgence of appetite. You have a lesson to learn: Whatsoever you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, to do all to the glory of God.
I entreat of you, for Christ's sake, to set your house and hearts in order. Let the truth of heavenly origin elevate and sanctify you, soul, body, and spirit. Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. Bro. ——, your eating has an influence to strengthen the baser passions. You do not control your body, as it is your duty to do in order to perfect holiness in the fear of God. Temperance in eating must be practiced by you before you can be a patient man. Remember you have given to your children, in a great degree, the stamp of your own character. You should guard yourself; and not be harsh, or severe, or impatient. Deal with them decidedly, yet patiently, lovingly, pityingly, as Jesus has dealt with you. Be careful how you censure. Bear with your children, yet restrain them. This has been too much neglected by you. You have not corrected them in the right manner, not having perfect control of your own spirit. A great work must be done for you, my dear brother and sister.
Bro. ——, if you had gone on from strength to strength, following in the light the Lord has given, he would now have chosen you as an instrument of righteousness. You have talents; you have ability; you can work for God's glory; but you have not, Bro. ——, made an entire surrender of yourself to God. Oh! that, even now, you would seek the righteousness of Christ, seek meekness, that you may be hid in the day of the Lord's fierce anger! Bro. and Sr. ——, you should take hold unitedly and perseveringly to right the wrong of your mismanagement of your children. Sr. —— has been too indulgent; yet unitedly and in love, you can do much, even now, to bind your children to your hearts, and instruct them in the good and right way.
Bro. and Sr. —— have a work to do in setting their own hearts and house in order. They should cultivate harmonious action. The transforming influence of the Spirit of God can do a great work for you both, and will unite your hearts and efforts in the work of reform in your own family. All repining, murmuring, and a hasty irritability, should be done with. Its effects are to weaken you both, and to destroy the influence you must have if you succeed in training your children for Heaven. Satan now has the field. He has the control of the minds of your children. These poor children are his captives. They practice self-abuse. Their minds take a low turn. Their moral sensibilities seem paralyzed. They have practiced this vice, and gloried in their iniquities. Such boys are capable of poisoning an entire neighborhood or community, and their pernicious influence will endanger all who are brought in contact with them in school capacity. Your children are corrupt, body and mind.
Vice has placed its marks upon your eldest children. They are tainted, deeply tainted, with sin. The animal propensities predominate, while the moral and intellectual are very weak. The lower, baser passions have gained strength by exercise, while conscience has become hardened and seared. This is the influence which vice will have upon the mental powers. Those who give themselves up to work the ruin of their own bodies and minds, do not stop here. Eventually they will be found ready for crime in almost any form, for their consciences are seared. Parents have not been half aroused to realize their responsibility in becoming parents. They are remiss in their duty. They do not teach their children the sinfulness of these dangerous, virtue-destroying habits. Until parents arouse, there is no hope for their children.
I might mention the cases of many others, but will forbear, except in a few instances.
—— —— is a dangerous associate. He is a subject of this vice. His influence is bad. The grace of God has no influence upon his heart. He has a good intellect, and his father has trusted much to this to balance him. But mental power alone is not a guaranty of virtuous superiority. The absence of religious principles makes —— —— base and corrupt at heart, and sly in his doings of wrong. His influence is pernicious everywhere. He is infidel in his principles, and glories in his skepticism. When with those of his own age, or those younger than himself, he talks knowingly of religious things, and jests at sacred things. He sneers at truth, and the Bible; pretends knowledge, which has its influence to corrupt minds and lead young men to feel ashamed of the truth.
The company of such companions should be wholly avoided; for this is the only sure course of safety. Young girls are enamored with the society of —— ——; even some who profess to be Christians prefer such society.
The young —— is a boy who can be moulded if surrounded by correct influences. This boy needs right example. If the young who profess Christ would honor him in their lives they could exert an influence to counteract the pernicious influence of such youth as —— ——. But the youth generally have no more religion than those who have never named the name of Christ. They do not depart from iniquity. A smart, intelligent boy, like —— ——, can have a powerful influence for evil. If this intelligence were controlled by rectitude and virtue, it would be powerful for good; but if it is swayed by depravity, its evil cannot be estimated upon his associates, and it will assuredly sink him in perdition.
A good intellect corrupted makes a very bad heart. A brilliant intellect sanctified by the Spirit of God exerts a hidden power, diffuses light and purity upon all with whom the happy possessor associates.
If a boy of mental abilities, as —— ——, would surrender his heart to Christ, this would be his salvation. His intellect would, by the means of pure religion, be brought into a healthy channel. His mental and moral powers would grow vigorously and harmoniously. The conscience illuminated with divine grace, would be quick and pure, controlling the will and desires, leading to frankness and uprightness in every act of life. Without the principles of religion this boy will be cunning, artful, sly, in an evil course, and will poison all he associates with. I warn all the youth to beware of this young man, if he continues to slight religion and the Bible. You cannot be too guarded in his society.
—— —— is being corrupted by associating with those boys who have not the right influence. The —— boy and —— —— are not profitable associates for ——. —— is easily influenced in the wrong direction. —— is not the best place for him. ——'s habits are not pure; self-abuse is practiced by him, and this crime, indulged by him, and loving the company of evil associates, will weaken his desires which help to form a correct and virtuous character, and secure Heaven at last. The youth, who desire immortality, must stop where they are, and not allow an impure thought or an impure act. Impure thoughts lead to impure actions. If Christ is the theme of contemplation, the thoughts will be widely separated from every subject which will lead to impure acts. The mind will strengthen by exercise in dwelling upon elevating subjects. It will become healthy and vigorous if trained to run in the channel of purity and holiness. The mind, if trained to dwell upon spiritual themes, will, by cultivation, naturally take that turn. But this attraction of the thoughts to heavenly things cannot be without the exercise of faith in God, and an earnest, humble reliance upon him for strength, and that grace which is sufficient for every emergency.
Purity of life and a character moulded after the divine Pattern are not obtained without earnest effort and fixed principles. A wavering, vacillating mind will not succeed in attaining Christian perfection. Such will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. Satan is seeking for his prey like a roaring lion. He will try his wiles upon every unsuspecting youth, and there is no safety anywhere only in Christ. It is through his grace alone that Satan can be successfully repulsed. Satan tells the youth there is time enough yet; that they may indulge in sin and vice this once, and never again; but that one indulgence will poison your whole life.
Do not venture on forbidden ground once. Let the earnest, heart-felt cry of the youth be raised to Heaven in this perilous day of evil, when the allurements to vice and corruption are on every hand. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" May his ears be opened and his heart inclined to obey the instruction given in the answer, "By taking heed thereto, according to Thy word." The only safety for the youth in this age of pollution is to make God their trust. Without divine help they will he unable to resist human passions and appetites. In Christ is the very help needed; but how few will come to him for that help. Said Jesus, when upon the earth, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." In Christ all can conquer. You can say with the apostle, "Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that hath loved us." Again, "But I keep under my body, and bring it unto subjection."
I have written out quite fully the case of Bro. —— and family, because this one illustrates the true state of very many families, and God would have these families take this as though written especially for their benefit. There are many more cases I might designate, but I have named enough already. The young girls are not as a general thing clear of the crime of self-abuse. They practice it, and as the result their constitutions are being ruined. Some, just entering womanhood, are in danger of paralysis upon the brain. Already the moral and intellectual powers are weakened and benumbed, while the animal passions are gaining the ascendency and corrupting body and soul. The youth, whether male or female, cannot be Christians unless they cease this hellish, soul-and-body-destroying vice entirely.
Many of the young are eager after books. They read everything they can obtain. Exciting love stories and impure pictures, have a corrupting influence. Novels are eagerly perused by the youth, and their imagination becomes defiled. Photographs are circulated in the cars for sale with females in a state of nudity. These disgusting pictures are found in the daguerrean saloons, and hung in pictures upon the walls of those who deal in engravings. This is an age when corruption is teeming. The lust of the eye and corrupt passions are aroused by beholding and by reading. The heart is corrupted through the imagination. The mind takes pleasure in contemplating scenes which awaken the lower and baser passions. These vile images, seen through defiled imagination, corrupt the morals, and prepare the deluded, infatuated beings, to give loose rein to lustful passions, and then follow sins and crimes, dragging beings formed in the image of God down to a level with the beasts, and sinking them at last in perdition. Avoid reading and seeing things which will suggest to your imagination impure thoughts. Cultivate the moral and intellectual powers. Let not these noble powers become enfeebled and perverted by much reading of even story books. I know of strong minds that have been unbalanced, and partially benumbed, or paralyzed, by intemperance in reading.
I appeal to parents to control the reading matter for their children. Much reading does them only harm. Especially do not permit upon your table the magazines and newspapers wherein are found love stories. It is impossible for the youth to possess a healthy tone of mind, and correct religious principles, unless they enjoy the perusal of the word of God. This book contains the most interesting history, points out the way of salvation through Christ, and is their guide to a higher and better life. They would all pronounce it the most interesting book they ever perused, if their imagination had not become perverted by exciting stories of a fictitious character. You who are looking for your Lord to come the second time to change your mortal bodies, and fashion them like unto his most glorious body, must come up upon a higher plane of action. You must work from a higher standpoint than you have hitherto done, or you will not be of that number that shall receive the finishing touch of immortality. E. G. W.
BRO. ——: At Adam's Center, I was shown that you greatly lacked an unselfish spirit while at the Institute. You did not exert the influence you should. You might have let your light shine there; but you did not. You often neglected your duty for amusements. You failed to take care, and to bear responsibility. You do not enjoy active exercise. You love your ease. You and hard work are at variance. This is selfish. You allowed the property of the Institute to run down, and be destroyed, when it was your business to see that it was kept up, that everything was in order, and preserved with greater interest and care than if they were your own. You were an unfaithful steward. Every time you permitted yourself to engage in amusements, playing croquet, or any thing of the kind, you were using time for which you were paid, which did not belong to you. You would be just as excusable should you take money which you had not earned, and appropriate it to yourself.
Brethren Loughborough, Andrews, Aldrich, and others, did not know you. They estimated you too highly. You could not fill the place they employed you to fill. They erred in judgment when they paid you such a high price for the labor you performed. You did not earn the money that was paid to you. You were very slow, and lacked greatly in energy. You were not enough interested and awake to see and do. Things were terribly neglected by you.
Bro. ——, you are far from God. You are in a state of backsliding. You do not possess noble, moral courage. You yield to your own desires. You do not deny self. You have been one that was seeking after happiness. You have attended places for amusement which God did not approbate, and in thus doing have weakened your own soul. My brother, you have much to learn. You indulge your appetite, eat more food than your system can convert into good blood. It is sin to be intemperate in the quantity of food eaten, even if the quality is unobjectionable. Many feel that if they leave meat and the grosser articles of food, that of simple food they may eat until they cannot well eat more. This is a mistake. There are many professed health reformers that are nothing less than gluttons. They lay upon the digestive organs so great a burden that the vitality of the system is exhausted in the effort to dispose of it. It has a depressing influence upon the intellect to burden the stomach with food; for the brain nerve-power is called upon to assist the stomach in its work. Over-eating, of even the simplest food, weakens the vitality of the brain. It benumbs the sensitive nerves. Over-eating has a worse effect upon the system than over-working; for the energies of the soul are more effectually prostrated by intemperate eating than by intemperate working. The digestive organs never should be burdened with a quantity or quality of food which will tax the system to appropriate. All that is taken into the stomach, above what the system can use to convert into good blood, will clog the machinery; for it is substance which cannot be made into either flesh or blood, and its presence burdens the liver, and produces a morbid condition of the system. The stomach is over-worked in its efforts to dispose of it, and then there is a sense of languor, which is interpreted to mean hunger, and without allowing the digestive organs time to rest from their severe labor, to recruit their energies, another immoderate amount is taken into the stomach, to set the weary machinery in motion again.
The system receives less nourishment from too great a quantity of food than from a less quantity, taken at regular periods, and of the right quality.
My brother, your brain is benumbed. A man who disposes of the quantity of food that you do, should be a laborious man. Exercise is important to digestion, and to a healthy condition of the body and mind. You need physical exercise. You move and act as if you were wooden, as though you had no elasticity. This is what you need. Healthy, active exercise will invigorate the mind. Violent exercise should not be engaged in immediately after a full meal; neither should the student engage in study; for this would be a violation of the laws of the system. Immediately after eating, there is a strong draught upon the nervous energy, calling into active exercise the brain force, concentrating it upon the field of labor, which is the stomach; therefore, when the mind or body is taxed heavily after eating, the process of digestion is hindered. The electricity of the system, which is wanted to carry on the work in one direction, is called away and set to work in another.
You need to exercise temperance in all things. Cultivate the higher powers of the mind, and there will be less strength of growth of the animal. It is impossible for you to increase in spiritual strength while your appetite and passions are not under perfect control. Says the inspired apostle, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
My brother, arouse yourself, I pray you, and let the work of the Spirit of God reach deeper than the external. Let it reach away down to affect the deep springs of every action. It is principle that is wanted, firm principle, and vigor of action in spiritual, as well as temporal, things. Your efforts lack earnestness.
Oh! how many are low in the scale of spirituality, because they will not deny their appetite. The brain nerve-energy is benumbed and almost paralyzed by being over-taxed through over-eating. Such will go to the house of God upon the Sabbath, and they cannot hold their eyes open. The most earnest appeals fail to arouse their leaden, insensible intellect. The truth may be presented with deep feeling, but it does not awaken the moral sensibilties, or enlighten the understanding. Have such studied to glorify God in all things?
It is impossible to have clear conceptions of eternal things, unless the mind is trained to dwell upon elevated themes. All the passions must be brought under perfect subjection to the moral powers. When men and women profess strong and earnest faith and spirituality, I know that their profession is false, if they have not brought all their passions under control. God requires it. The reason that such spiritual darkness prevails is because the mind is content to take a low level, and is not directed upward in a pure, holy, heavenly channel.
I saw, in regard to your family, that you were not happy. Your wife has been disappointed. You have been disappointed. Your wife expected to find in you a person of more noble, refined organization. She has been very unhappy. She has a large amount of pride. Her family connections, upon her mother's side, are naturally conscientious, yet proud and aristocratic. She partakes largely of these traits of character. She is not demonstrative. It is not natural for her to make advances, and manifest affection and love. She looks upon the manifestation of affection between husband and wife, as childish and weak. She has felt that if she encouraged affection, it would not be answered by the fine elevated sentiment of love, but by the lower order of passions; that these would be strengthened, but not pure, holy, deep love.
Your wife should make strong efforts to come out of her retired, dignified reserve, and cultivate simplicity in all her actions. And when your higher order of faculties are aroused and strengthened by exercise, you will understand better the wants of women; that the soul craves for love of a higher, purer order than exists in the low order of the animal passions. These passions have been strengthened by encouragement and exercise. If now in the fear of God you keep your body under, and seek to meet your wife with pure, elevated love, the wants of her nature will be met. Take your wife to your heart. Esteem her highly.
You have taken a position above your wife, and have been exalted. You have not understood yourself. You have had a high appreciation of your religious experience and advancement in the divine life. These things have hindered, instead of helping, your wife. She feared for you; feared that you did not really understand yourself, and that you would go too fast. Your union has not been happy. You have been unsuited to each other. Your wife has a timid, fearful, shrinking nature. You have utterly failed to understand her. She is in fear and hesitancy in regard to moving out, because she fears going too fast. She needs confidence in herself and should encourage independence.
Bro ——, you fail to encourage the confidence of your wife. You are lacking in courteousness and constant, kindly regard for her. You sometimes manifest love, but it is a selfish love. It is not a principle with you, reaching down deep, and underlying all your actions. It is not an unselfish love which prompts a continual forethought for her, and a care to have her in your society, showing her that you prefer her company above all others. You have sought for your own amusements leaving her at home lonely and often sad. You pursued this course before moving to this place, and have continued to do so since, in a less degree for want of opportunity or excuse.
Your wife would scorn to let you know that she marked the deficiencies in you. She has kept a fear of you. Had you possessed a genuine love, which such a nature as hers requires, you would have found an answering cord in her heart. You are to cold and stiff. You have, at times, manifested affection, but it has not awakened love in return, because you have not been courteous and attentive, and manifested a kind regard for your wife by consulting her happiness. You have, too many times, felt at liberty to saunter off in pursuit of your own pleasure, without consulting her pleasure or happiness at all.
True, pure love is precious. It is heavenly. It is deep and abiding. It is not spasmodic in its manifestations. It is not a selfish passion. It is heavenly in its influence. It bears fruit. It will lead to a constant effort to make your wife happy. If you have this love, it will come natural to make this effort. It will not appear to be forced. If you go out for a walk, or to attend a meeting, it will be as natural as your breath to choose your wife to accompany you, and to seek to make her happy in your society. You regard her spiritual attainments inferior to your own. I saw that God was better pleased with her spirit than with that possessed by yourself. You are not worthy of your wife. She is to good for you. She is a sensitive plant and frail; she needs to be tenderly cared for.
She earnestly desires to do the will of God. She has a proud spirit, but is timid, shrinking from reproach. It is as death to her to be a subject of observation or remark. Let your wife be loved, honored, and cherished, in fulfillment of the marriage vow, and she will come out of that reticent, diffident position, which is natural to her.
Only let a woman realize that she is appreciated by her husband, and is precious to him, not merely because she is useful, and convenient in his house, but because she is a part of himself, and she will respond to his affection, and reflect back the love bestowed upon her. Let your wife be the object of your special and hearty attention. When you feel as God would have you, you will feel lost without the society of your wife. You think her faith not worth having, yet it will bring answers sooner than the faith you possess.
Bro. ——, you fail to understand the heart of a woman. You do not reason from cause to effect. You know that your wife is not so cheerful and happy as you wish to see her, but you do not investigate the cause. You do not analyze your deportment to see if the difficulty does not exist in yourself. Love your wife. She is hungering for deep, true, elevating love. Let her have tangible proof that her care and interest for you, which is shown in attention to your comfort, is appreciated and returned. Seek her opinion and approval in things in which you engage. Respect her judgment. Do not feel that you know all that is worth knowing.
A house with love in it, where love is expressed in words, and looks, and deeds, is a place where angels love to manifest their presence, and hallow the scene by rays of light from glory. There the humble household duties have a charm in them. None of her life duties will be an unpleasant task to her. She can perform them with a cheerfulness of spirit, and will be like a sunbeam to all around her; and she will be making melody in her heart to the Lord.
Your wife feels that she has not your heart's affections. You have given her occasion to feel thus. You perform the necessary duties devolving upon you as head of the family, but there is a lack. There is a serious lack of love's precious influence, which leads to kindly attentions. Love should be seen in the looks and manners, and heard in the tones of the voice.
Your wife does not venture to open her heart to you, for as soon as she utters a sentiment differing from you, you repel it. You talk so strong that she has no courage to say another word. You are not one in heart. You take a position above your wife, and maintain a bearing as though her judgment or opinion was of no account. You consider your spiritual attainments far in advance of hers. My brother, you do not know yourself. God looks at the heart, not at the words or profession. The externals do not weigh with God as with men. A humble heart and a contrite spirit God values. Our Saviour is acquainted with the life conflicts of every soul. He judgeth not according to appearances, but righteously.
Your spirit is strong. When you take a position you do not weigh the matter well, and consider what must be the effect of your maintaining your views, and in an independent manner weaving them into your prayers and conversation, when you know that your wife does not take the same views that you do. Instead of kindly—I might say gentlemanly—avoiding the subjects where you know you differ, in respect for the feelings of your wife, you have been forward to dwell upon objectional points, and have manifested a persistency in expressing your views regardless of any around you. You have felt that others had no right to see matters differently from yourself. These fruits do not grow upon the Christian tree.
In the case of Sr. ——, you did not view things in their true light. If she had been healed in answer to yours and others' prayers, it would have proved the ruin of more than two or three of you. A wise God had oversight of this matter. He could read the motives and purposes of the heart.
Your wife has just as much right to her opinion as you have to yours. Her marriage relation does not destroy her identity. She has an individual responsibility. You will not feel clear till you take things out of her way, and manifest a more charitable, Christ-like spirit of forbearance, and regard others in the light you wish to be regarded. You have yet to learn to "let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves." "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord."
I was shown, Bro. ——, that you need a great work done for you, before you can exert an influence in the church, to correct their errors, or bring them up. You do not possess that humbleness of mind, that can reach the hearts of God's people. You are exalted. You need to examine your motives and your actions, to see if your eye is single to the glory of God.
Bro. —— nor yourself are exactly fitted to meet the wants of the youth and the church generally. You do not come right down in simplicity, to understand the best manner to help. It does not have the best influence for you and Bro. —— to leave your seats, and take your position upon the platform in front of the people. You feel, when you occupy that position, that you must say or do something in accordance with the position you have taken. Instead of getting up and speaking a few words to the point, you frequently make lengthy remarks which really hurt the spirit of the meeting. Many feel relieved when you sit down. Were you in a country place where there were but few to improve the time, such lengthy remarks would be more appropriate.
This work is a great work, and wise men are needed to engage in it. Men are wanted who can adapt themselves to the wants of the people. If you expect to help the people, you must not take your position above them, but right down among them. This is Bro. ——'s great fault. He is too stiff. It is not natural for him to use simplicity. He does not reason from cause to effect. He will not win affection and love. He does not come right down to the understanding of the children, and speak in a touching manner which will melt and burn its way to the heart. He stands up and talks to the children in a wise kind of a way; but it does them no good. His remarks are generally lengthy and wearisome. If but one-fourth was said sometimes that is said, a much better impression would be left on the mind.
Those who instruct children should avoid tedious remarks. Short remarks to the point will have a happy influence. If much is to be said, make up for briefness in frequency. A few words of interest, now and then, will be more beneficial than to have it all at once. Long speeches burden the small minds of children. Too much talk will lead them to loathe even spiritual instruction, just as over-eating burdens the stomach and lessens the appetite, and leads to a loathing of food. The minds of the people may be glutted with too much speechifying. Labor for the church, but especially for the youth, should be line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Give minds time to digest the truths we feed them. Children must be drawn towards Heaven, not rashly, but very gently. E. G. W.
Battle Creek, Oct. 2, 1868.
Dear Bro. ——: I have several times attempted to write to you, but have as often been hindered. I will delay no longer. I have felt for a few days past especially anxious in regard to you.
Last June, some things were shown me in regard to yourself. I was carried back in the past, and shown your unsettled, roving life. You were without God. Your life has been reckless and hard. Yet I saw that God, in mercy, spared your life many times, when it seemed that no human power, or wisdom could preserve it. You now stand a miracle of mercy. When your life has been in imminent peril, Christ, your advocate, has plead in your behalf: Father spare his life a little longer. He has been an unfruitful tree, which has cumbered the ground, yet cut it not down. I will patiently wait a little longer, and see if it will not bear fruit. I will impress his heart with the truth. I will convict him of sin. I was shown that the Lord opened the way for you to obey and serve him. Your steps were directed where your surroundings would be more favorable to a growth in grace, and where it would be less difficult for you to form a character for Heaven. Your footsteps were directed West. You came into our family, and were received into our hearts. This was all ordered of the Lord. You had no experience. This was necessary in order to live a life which God would approve. You were situated where you could obtain more light, and a more correct knowledge of present truth, in a few short months than you could have obtained in years, if you had remained East.
Our compassionate High Priest was acquainted with your weakness and your errors, and left you not in your inexperience, amid unfavorable surroundings, to battle with your great foe. Had you remained in ——, you would not have retained the truth. The opposition you would have received, would have raised your combativeness, and you would have dishonored the truth by a hasty spirit, and then have been discouraged, as obstacles arose in your Christian journey, and you would have yielded the truth.
I saw that you had much to be thankful for. Your heart should be filled with gratitude to your loving Saviour for his mercy to you, who have abused his love so long.
I was shown that you were a rough stone from the quarry, which needed much hewing, and squaring, and polishing, before you could fill a place in the heavenly building. There has been something of this work done for you; but oh! there is a much greater work to be done.
I was shown that you have had a very unhappy spirit. You have seen the rough of life. You have not had much happiness; but you were the one who stood in your own light, debarring yourself from good. In your youth, you encouraged a spirit of discontent; you would not be ruled; you would choose and walk in your own way, irrespective of others' judgment or counsel. You would not submit to be controlled by your step-father, because you wanted to follow your way. He did not understand the best way to manage you, and you were bound not to respect his authority. You would place yourself upon the defensive, as soon as he would speak to you. Your combativeness was large; and you would battle everything and everybody that crossed your plans. Even suggestions that might be made of a better course to pursue in your plans and labors, would cause you to fly in an instant. You thought you were censured, thought you were blamed, and felt grieved with those who were your true friends. Your imagination was diseased. You thought everybody was against you. You thought your lot exceedingly hard. It has been hard, but you have made it so.
Your course toward your step-father was unbecoming. He did not deserve to be treated by you as he was. He had faults and errors; but while you were awake to see these in an aggravated light, you did not see your own errors.
In the providence of God, your wife was prostrated by disease. She was a proud-spirited woman. She repented of her sins, and her repentance was accepted of God.
Your way has been hedged up, on the right hand and on the left, to debar your progress to perdition. The Lord has brought your unruly, untamable spirit to submit to him. You have been brought to repentance by a mixture of judgment and mercy. You, like Jonah, fled from present duty to sea. God hedged up your way by the visitations of his providence. You could not prosper, or be happy, because you could not leave yourself behind. You took self and sin with you. You cherished a discontented, restless spirit. You would not do the duties in your path. You wanted change—some larger work. You became roving in disposition.
The eye of your dear Saviour has been upon you, or you would have been left in your unsettled state, and in your sins, to become abandoned in character and miserable in circumstances. While in the land of strangers and in the hour of sickness, you have felt sadly your forlorn and desolate condition. You have passed long nights and weary days of restlessness and pain, away from your mother and sisters, with none but stranger hands to do a kindly office for you, and no Christian hope to sustain you.
You were seeking after happiness; but did not obtain it. You had neglected the advice of your mother, and her entreaties not to violate the commands of God. At times this neglect has caused you bitterness of spirit. I cannot enter into every particular, for I am not strong. I will dwell upon the most essential things shown me.
I saw that a work is before you which you do not comprehend. It is, to die to self. You must crucify self. You have a quick, impetuous temper, which you must subdue.
You possess noble traits of character which will secure you friends, if your hasty spirit does not wound. You have strong attachment for those who manifest an interest for you. You are conscientious when you can, and do, comprehend things aright; but you do not always stop and reflect, but often move by impulse.
You pass your judgment upon individuals, and comment upon their ways and manners, when you do not understand their position, or their work. You view things from your stand-point, and then are ready to condemn or question the course they pursue, without candidly taking a view of the matters on every side. You have not knowledge of the duties of others, and should not feel responsible for their acts; but do your duty, leaving others with the Lord. Possess your spirit in patience, and preserve peace and calmness of mind, and be ye thankful.
I saw that the Lord had given you light and experience, that you might see the sinfulness of a hasty spirit, and control your passions.
So surely as you fail to do this, just so surely you will fail of everlasting life. You must overcome this disease of the imagination. If a word is spoken, favoring an opposite course from that which you had been pursuing, you are extremely sensitive, and are hurt. You feel that you are blamed, and that you must defend yourself, save your life; and in your earnest effort to save your life, you lose it. You have a work to do, to die to self, and cultivate a spirit of forbearance and patience. Get over the idea that you are not used right; that you are wronged, that somebody wants to crowd you or harm you. You see through false eyes. Satan leads you to these distorted views of things.
Dear Brother ——, at Adam's Center, your case was again shown me. I saw that you had ever failed to exercise true self-government. You have made efforts, but these efforts have only reached the external. They have not gone down deep to the spring of action. Your hasty temper often causes you sincere and painful regret and condemnation afterwards.
This spirit of passion, unless subdued, will increase to a peevish, fault-finding spirit; indeed this is already upon you in a degree. You will be ready to resent everything. If jostled upon the sidewalk, a word of complaint, because offended, will spring to your lips. When driving in the street, if full half the road is not given you, you will feel stirred in a moment. If asked to put yourself out of your course to accommodate others, you will chafe and fret, and feel that your dignity is imposed upon. You will show to all your easily besetting sin. Your very countenance will indicate an impatient spirit, and your mouth will seem always ready to utter an angry word. In this habit, as in tobacco-using, total abstinence is the only sure remedy. An entire change must take place in you. You frequently feel that you must be more guarded. You resolutely say, "I will be more calm and patient;" but in doing this you only touch the evil on the outside; you consent to retain the lion and watch him. You must go farther than this. Strength of principle, alone, can dislodge this destroying foe, and bring peace and happiness.
You have repeatedly said, "I can't keep my temper." "I have to speak." You lack a humble, meek spirit. Your self is all alive, and you stand continually a guard to preserve self from any mortification or insult. Says the apostle, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Those who are dead to self, will not feel so readily, and be prepared to resist everything which may irritate. Dead men cannot feel. You are not dead. If you were dead, and your life was hid in Christ, a thousand things which you now notice, and which afflict you, would be passed by as unworthy of notice; you would then be grasping the eternal, and would be above the little petty trials of this life.
"The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity." "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding; but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly." "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit is better than he that he that taketh a city." "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." "He that hath knowledge spareth his words; and a man of understanding is of excellent spirit." (Margin, cool spirit).
Our great Exemplar was exalted to be equal with God. He was high commander in Heaven. All the holy angels delighted to bow before him. "And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him." Jesus took upon himself our nature, laid aside his glory, majesty, and riches, to perform his mission, to save that which was lost. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister unto others. Jesus, when reviled, abused, and insulted, did not retaliate." "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again." When the cruelty of man caused him to suffer painful stripes and wounds, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him who judgeth righteously. The apostle Paul exhorted his Philippian brethren, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men." Is the servant greater than his master? Christ has given us his life as a pattern, and we dishonor him when we become jealous of every slight, and are ready to resent every injury, supposed or real. It is not an evidence of a noble mind to be prepared to defend self, to preserve our own dignity. We had better suffer wrongfully a hundred times, than to wound the soul by a spirit of retaliation, or by giving vent to wrath. There is strength to be obtained of God. He can help. He can give grace and heavenly wisdom. If you ask in faith, you will receive; but you must watch unto prayer. Watch, pray, and work, should be your watchword.
Your wife might be a blessing if she would only take the responsibility upon her that it is her duty to take. But she has shunned responsibility all her life, and now is in danger of being influenced, instead of influencing you. Instead of her having a softening, elevating influence upon you, there is danger of her thinking as you think, and acting as you act, without reaching down deep to be guided by principle in all her actions. You sympathize with one another, and, unfortunately, help each other to view matters incorrectly, rather than correctly.
She can exert an influence for good; but she possesses a spirit which savors of spiritual indolence and sloth. She is reluctant to engage in any good work if it is not pleasant and agreeable.
What was Meroz' sin? Doing nothing. Not because of great crimes; but because they did not come up to the help of the Lord.
I was shown that —— did not understand herself. She shunned care-taking in her youth, and is not disposed to engage in it even now. She is inclined to lean upon others, rather than upon her own powers. She has not encouraged a noble independence. She should, for years back, have been educating herself to bear burdens. Sr. —— is not in health. She is predisposed to torpid liver, and is not inclined to exercise. Unless she sees that she must, she has not the faculty to set herself to work. She eats nearly double the amount which she ought to eat. All she takes into her stomach, above that which her system can convert into good blood, becomes waste matter, to burden nature in the disposal of it. Her system is clogged with a mass of matter, which hinders her in her work, clogs the machinery, and weakens the life-forces. Taking more food into the system than it can convert into good blood, causes a depraved quality of blood, and taxes the vitality to a much greater degree than labor or physical exercise. This over-eating causes a dull stupor. The brain nerves are called to aid the digestive organs, and are constantly being over-taxed and weakened. The sensitive nerves of the brain are benumbed by the action of the nerve-power being called to the stomach to aid the digestive organs. This leaves a sense of dullness in the head, and is making her every day liable to a shock of paralysis. Encouragement to cease exercise is not what is required. Physical exercise is very essential. There would be nothing so dangerous as to remain where her physical powers would not be called into active exercise. This will strengthen her body and mind. When she awakes to the responsibility of her position, and sees the benefit which will result from her seeking to have an aim in life, she will not be so disposed to sink down into indolence, and to shun hardships. She does not put her heart into what she does; therefore, she moves about mechanically, too much like a machine, feeling that labor is a burden. She cannot, while she feels thus, realize that new life and vigor which it is her privilege to have. She lacks spirit and energy. She is too much inclined to be lost in dullness, and leaden insensibility. The heavy torpor she feels can only be overcome by a spare diet, perfect control over her appetite, and all her passions, calling her will to her aid in the point of exercising. She wants the will to electrify the nerve-power so that she may resist indolence.
Sr. ——, you never can be of use in the world, unless your purposes are strong enough to enable you to overcome this unwillingness to take care, and bear burdens. As you exercise the forces within you daily, you will find the task less difficult, until duty, and diligence, and care, will become second nature. You can accustom yourself to think, when you lay less burden upon your stomach. This burden taxes the brain.
Also you should have an aim, a purpose in life. Where there is no purpose, there is a disposition to indolence; but where there is an object in view, of sufficient importance, all the powers of the mind will come into spontaneous activity. In order to make life a success, the thoughts must be steadily fixed upon the object of life, and not left to wander off, and be occupied with unimportant things, or to be satisfied with idle musings, which is the fruit of shunning responsibility. Castle-building will deprave the mind.
Take up present duty. Do it with a will, with all the heart. You should resolve to do something which will require an effort of the brain-powers, as well as the physical. Your heart should be in your present labor, and your present work.
The duty now before you is the very work Heaven wishes you to do. To dream of a work far off, and imagine and plan in regard to the future, will prove unprofitable, and unfit you for the work, small though it may be, which Heaven now places before you. It should not be your study to do some great work, but to do cheerfully the work which you see to do to-day, and to do it well. Talents are intrusted to your care, to be doubled. You are responsible for their proper use, or their abuse. You are not to aspire after great things, in order to do great service; but to do your little work. Improve your talents, even if they are few, with a sense of responsibility for their right use, in the sight of God.
You need not expect to avoid pain and weariness in the toils and trials of life. The Son of God was partaker of the human frame. He was frequently wearied in body and spirit. Said he, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work."
You should cease your far-off dreaming, and bring your mind to present duties, and cheerfully perform them.
This world is not the Christian's Heaven. It is merely the fitting-up place. It is the scene of our life-battles, conflicts, and sorrows; and it is important that we all have a firm grasp of the better world, where there is peace, joy, and bliss, to be enjoyed forever, when the warfare is ended.
I saw that you would both be in greater danger of making shipwreck of faith were you united, because, you would look upon matters in a false light. You both have a great work to do for yourselves, and you are in danger of blinding your eyes to each other's faults.
Sr. —— should be guarded so as not to stir up the hasty spirit of her husband by relating her supposed grievances to him, to obtain sympathy. He takes things in so strong a light, and feels deeply over things which are not worthy of notice. She will have to learn this, and understand that it is wisdom to be silent. She needs the power of endurance. You can much more easily throw a thing into the mind, than get it out when once it is there. It is more easy to dwell upon a supposed wrong, than to pacify or control the feelings when once they are aroused.
Bro. —— has excellent qualities if they were refined by the elevating influences of pure religion. He can be useful. Sincere piety alone can qualify him to perform his duties well in this world, and give him a fitness for Heaven.
A heavenly character must be acquired upon earth, or you will never possess it; therefore you should engage in the work which you have to do at once. You should be earnestly laboring to obtain a fitness for Heaven. Live for Heaven. Live by faith.
Bro. ——, you are a rough stone, but the hand of a skillful workman is upon you. Will you let him hew and square you, and polish you for that building which is coming together without the sound of an ax or hammer? Not a blow is to be struck after probation closes. You may now, in the hours of probation, overcome your impetuous temper, or be separated from God.
Jesus loves you both, and. will save you if you will be saved in his own appointed way. You may have experimental religion if you really hunger and thirst for it. Go to God in faith and humility, and ask, and ye shall receive; but remember the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant greater than his lord. You need to cherish that humility and humbleness of mind which dwelt in Jesus Christ. E. G. W.
Battle Creek, Feb. 9, 1869.
DEAR BRO. AND SR. ——: I have been seeking opportunity to write you, but have been sick, and unable to write any one. But I will try to write a few lines this morning.
As I was shown the duties resting upon God's people in regard to the poor, especially the widows and orphans, I was shown that my husband and myself were in danger of taking upon us burdens which God has not laid upon us, and thereby lessening our courage and strength, by increasing our cares and anxiety. In your case, I saw that my husband went farther than it was his duty to go. His interest in you led him to take a burden which carried him beyond his duty, and it has been no benefit to you, but has encouraged in you a disposition to depend upon your brethren. You look to them to help and favor you while you do not labor so hard as they, nor economize at all times as they feel it their duty to do.
I was shown that you, my brother and sister, have much to learn. You have not learned economy. You have not lived within your means. If you earn high wages, you have not learned to economize what you have earned, and to make it go as far as possible. You consult your taste or appetite instead of prudence. At times you expend money for a quality of food in which your brethren can not afford to indulge. Dollars slip from your pocket very easily.
Sr. —— is in poor health. She indulges her appetite. She places too heavy a tax upon her stomach. She burdens her stomach by overeating. She places in her stomach food not of the best quality to nourish her system. Her food is taken in immoderate quantities, and she takes but little exercise; thus the system is severely taxed. According to the light the Lord has given us, simple food is the best to insure health and strength. Exercise is necessary to her health.
Self-denial is a lesson you have both yet to learn. Restrict your appetite, Bro. ——. God has given you a capital of strength. This is of more value to you, and should be more highly prized, than money. Strength cannot be purchased with gold or silver, houses or lands. It is a great possession that you have. God requires you to make a wise and judicious use of the strength he has blessed you with. You are God's steward, with a capital of strength. You are just as much a steward as is a man who has a capital of money. It is wrong for you to fail to use your strength to the best advantage; as wrong as for a rich man to covetously retain his riches because it is agreeable to do so. You do not make the exertion that you should to support your family. You can, and do, work if work is all conveniently prepared to hand; but you do not exert yourself to set yourself to work, feeling that it is a duty to use your time and strength to the very best advantage, and in the fear of God.
You have been in a business which would at times yield you large profits at once. After you have earned means, you have not studied to economize in reference to a time when means could not be earned so easily; but have expended much for imaginary wants. Had you and your wife understood it to be a duty that God enjoined upon you, to deny your taste and your desires, and make provision for the future, instead of living merely for the present, you could now have had a competency, and your family have had the comforts of life. You have a lesson to learn which you should not be backward in learning. It is to make a little go the longest way.
Sr. —— has leaned her weight too heavily upon her husband. She has been all her life too dependent upon others for sympathy, thinking of herself, making herself a center. She has been petted too much. She has not learned to be self-reliant. She has not been the help to her husband that she might have been, in temporal or spiritual things. She must learn to bear, and not dwell upon, bodily infirmities as she does. She has the battles of life to fight for herself. She has an individual responsibility resting upon her.
Sr. ——, your life has been a mistake. You have indulged in reading anything and everything. Your mind has not been benefited by this much reading. Your nerves have been excited while hurriedly chasing through the story. If your children interrupt you while thus employed, you speak fretfully, impatiently. You do not have self-control, and therefore fail to hold your children with a firm and steady hand. You move from impulse. You indulge and pet them, and then fret and scold, and are severe. This variable manner is very detrimental to your children. They need a firm, steady hand; for they are wayward. They need regular, wise, judicious discipline.
You might save yourself much perplexity if you would put on the woman, and move from principle, not from impulse. You have imagined that your husband must be with you, that you could not stay alone. You should see that his duty is to labor to sustain his family. You should bring yourself to deny your desires and wishes, and not lead him to feel that he must accommodate himself to you. You have a part to act in bearing the burdens of life. You must put on courage and fortitude. Be a woman, not a capricious child. You have been petted, and have had your burdens borne for you too long. It is now your duty to seek to deny your wishes and desires, and act from principle; for the present and future good of your family. You are not well, but if you should cultivate a contented, cheerful mind, it would help you to a better hold on this life, and also on the life to come.
Bro. ——, it is your duty to make a careful, judicious use of the capital of strength which God has given you.
Sr. ——, your brain is wearied, taxed by reading. You should deny your propensity for crowding your mind with everything it can devour. Your lifetime has not been put to the best use. You have not benefited yourself, nor those around you. You have leaned on your mother more than has been for your good. If you had depended more upon the powers within yourself, if you had been more self-reliant, you would have been happier. Now you should bear your own burdens as well as you can, and encourage your husband to bear his in doing his work.
If you had denied your taste for reading, and seeking to please yourself, and devoted more time to prudent physical exercise, and eaten carefully of proper, healthful food, you would have kept free from much suffering which you have had. A part of this suffering has been imaginary. If you had braced your mind to resist the disposition to yield to infirmities, you would not have had nervous spasms. Your mind should be drawn away from yourself, to household duties, in keeping your house with order, neatness, and taste. Much reading, and permitting your mind to be diverted with small things, has led to a neglect of your children, and your household duties. These are the very duties which God has given you to perform.
You have had much sympathy for yourself. You have called your mind to yourself, and have dwelt upon your poor feelings. My sister, eat less. Engage in physical labor, and devote your mind to spiritual things. Keep your mind from dwelling upon yourself. Cultivate a contented, cheerful spirit. You talk too much upon unimportant things. You gain no spiritual strength from this. If the strength spent in talking were devoted to prayer, you would receive spiritual strength, and you would make melody in your heart to God.
You have been controlled by feeling, not by duty and principle. You have given up to homesick feelings, and injured your health by indulging in a spirit of unrest. Your habits of life are not healthful. You need to reform. You are neither of you willing to work as others work, nor to eat as your brethren eat. If it is in your power to get things, you have them. It is your duty to economize.
In contrast with your case, was presented the case of Sr. ——. She has feeble health, and has two children to support with her needle at the very low prices which are paid for her work. For years she received scarcely a farthing of help. She was suffering with ill health, yet she carried her own burdens. Here was an object of charity indeed. Now look at your case. A man with a good capital of strength and a small family, yet constantly involved in debt, leaning upon others. This is all wrong. You have lessons to learn. With Sr. ——, economy is the battle of life. Here you are with a man's strong energies, and yet not self-sustaining. You have a work to do. You should have uniformity of diet. Live as simply as your brethren live, at all times. Live out the health reform.
Jesus wrought a miracle, and fed five thousand, and then he taught an important lesson of economy: "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." Duties are resting upon you, important duties. "Owe no man anything." Were you infirm, were you unable to labor, then your brethren would be in duty bound to help you. As it is, all you needed from your brethren when changing your location, was a start at first. You can be free from embarassments, if you feel as ambitious to labor as you should, and you and your wife unitedly bring your plans in life within your means. You will have to labor for small wages, as well as for large. Industry and economy would have placed your family, ere this, in a much more favorable condition. God wants you to be a faithful steward of your strength. He wants you to use your strength to place your family above want and dependence. E. G. W.
Battle Creek, Mich., March 22, 1869.
DEAR SR. ——: I have been shown that there has been a fault in your religious life. You have possessed too much of a combative spirit. While it has been your privilege to think and act for yourself, you have carried the matter too far. You have had more independence than humility. You have pursued a course to irritate rather than to pacify. It has been necessary for you to possess firmness in order to stand in defense of the truth; yet you have frequently erred in not possessing that meek and quiet spirit which God estimates of great price. In your family, you have met with opposition and a manifest disrelish of the truth, and you have failed to meet the trials you have received in the best manner. You have talked too much and been to positive. You have had too little love, and affection, and tenderness, mingled with your efforts in your family, especially towards your husband. You are in danger of carrying points to extremes, over-doing the matter, and hurting instead of healing. It is your best course to yield your judgment, even if you think you are right, where you can and not sacrifice the principles of truth. You have a responsibility, an identity which cannot be submerged in your husband. Yet there is a oneness, a bond which makes you one, and in many things, if you were more yielding, it would be far better for your husband, your children, and yourself. You are too exacting. You do not seek to win those who differ with you. You are quick to discern when you have the advantage, and you make the most of it. If you possessed more forbearance, mingled with sweet love, and for Christ's sake should pass over many things, without taking them up, and pressing them home, creating uncomfortable feelings, the influence would be better and more saving. You need love, love, love, tender pity and affection.
You see the truth, and then you mark out how this one and that one should practice the truth; and if they fail to come up to the mark you think they should, you feel to draw off from them. You cannot fellowship them, and love dies out of your heart for them, when in reality, they are just as near right as you are. You make yourself enemies when you might have friends. When you see points of truth, you are ardent and positive in your temperament, and you carry matters to extremes. You repulse, instead of winning and binding souls to your soul. You look upon the objectionable features in the character of those you associate with, and dwell upon their seeming inconsistencies and wrongs, overlooking their redeeming traits. I was referred to this scripture, "Finally, brethren, Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be ANY virtue, and if there be any praise, think on THESE things." Here, dear sister, you may meditate and speculate with profit. Dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate, and see as little as possible of their errors and failings. You possess too much a spirit of war, and throw things into confusion and strife. You must change your life and character, if you ever come under the head of "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Let nothing but kind, loving words fall from your lips toward the members of your family, and toward the church.
You need to open your heart to love, that love which dwelt in the bosom of Jesus. Should your Saviour deal with you as you would deal with those with whom you differ, you would certainly be in a distressed condition. Your case would be nearly hopeless. But I thank the Lord we have a merciful High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. You have been tried with others, and have pursued a course toward them that Heaven does not approve. You have a work to do to let the softening influence of the grace of God into your heart, and seek meekness, seek righteousness.
You are zealous for the truth. You love it, and wish to invest something in it. This is all right, but be careful in your giving precepts to others that you have it backed up with example. You must seek for peace. You can do this and not sacrifice one principle of truth. You have stormed and fought your way through, and now you need to soften your influence, to sweeten, to soothe, instead of stirring up opposition. You have been self-exalted, possessed a large share of self-confidence and self-esteem. Now you want to exalt Jesus, and imitate his harmless life. Peace, peace followed him everywhere.
You, my sister, will prove a trial to God's people unless you are willing to learn, willing to be counseled. You must not continue to feel that you know it all. You have much yet to learn before you can be perfect before God.
The sweetest and best lesson will be first in humility. "Learn of me," says the humble Nazarene, "for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." This lesson of meekness, forbearance, patience, and love, you have yet to learn and practice. You can be a blessing. You can help such as need help; but you must lay down your measuring tape, for that is not your business. One who is unerring in judgment, who understands the weakness of our fallen, corrupt natures, holds the standard himself. He weighs in the balances of the sanctuary, and his just measure we shall all accept.
You need to cultivate more gentleness and deference toward your husband. You err in your course toward him. You are exacting, carry matters to extremes, and do harm to your own soul, and to the truth. You make the truth repulsive. It causes souls to be afraid of it. If love and affection soften your words, and give tone to your actions, you will find a change in those you associate with. There will be peace, harmony, and union, instead of strife, jealousy, and discord. Especially in your family you should let love and tenderness be exercised, and you will receive a blessing. E. G. W.
I WAS shown, Oct. 2, 1868, the state of God's professed people. Many of them were in great darkness, yet seemed to be insensible of their true condition. The sensibilities of a large number seemed to be benumbed in regard to spiritual and eternal things, while their minds seemed all awake to their worldly interest. Many were cherishing idols in their hearts, and were practicing iniquity which separated them from God, and caused them to be bodies of darkness. Yet I saw but few standing in the light, having discernment and spirituality to discover these stumbling-blocks and remove them out of the way. The Lord has shown me that men standing in very responsible places at the heart of the work are asleep. They are paralyzed by Satan, that his plans and devices may not be discerned while he is active to ensnare, deceive, and destroy. Some who are occupying the position of watchmen to warn the people of danger, have given up their watch, and recline at ease. They are unfaithful sentinels. They have remained inactive and indolent while their wily foe has entered the fort, and works successfully by their side to tear down what God has commanded to be built up. They see that Satan is deceiving the inexperienced and unsuspecting, yet they take it all quietly, as though they had no special interest, as though these things did not concern them. They apprehend no special danger. They see no cause to raise an alarm. All to them seems to be going well, and they see no necessity of raising the faithful, trumpet tones of warning they hear in the plain testimonies borne showing the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins. These reproofs and warnings disturb the quiet of these sleepy, ease-loving sentinels. They are not pleased. They say in heart, if not in words, This is all uncalled for. It is too severe, too harsh. These men are unnecessarily disturbed and excited, and seem unwilling to give us any quietude or rest. Ye take too much upon yourselves, seeing the congregation is holy, every one of them. They are unwilling we should have any comfort, peace, or happiness. It is active labor, toil, and unceasing vigilance alone which will satisfy these unreasonable, hard-to-be-suited watchmen. Why don't they prophesy smooth things, and cry, Peace, peace? Then every thing would move on smoothly.
These are the true feelings of many of our people. And Satan exults at his success in controlling the minds of so many who profess to be Christians. He has deceived them, benumbed their sensibilities, and planted his hellish banner right in their midst, and they are so completely deceived that they know not that it is he. The people have not erected graven images, yet their sin is no less in the sight of God. They worship mammon. They love worldly gain. Some will make any sacrifice of conscience to obtain their object. God's professed people are selfish and self-caring. They love the things of this world, and have fellowship with the works of darkness. They have pleasure in unrighteousness. They have not love toward God, nor love for their neighbors. They are idolaters—worse, far worse, in the sight of God, than the heathen graven-image worshipers who have no knowledge of a better way.
Christ's followers are required to come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they shall be sons and daughters of the Lord. If the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise of being children of the most high God, members of the royal family. A profession of Christianity is nothing in the sight of God; but true, humble, willing obedience to his requirements designates them as the children of his adoption, the recipients of his grace, the partakers of his great salvation. Such will be peculiar, a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Their peculiar, holy character will be discernible, and will distinctly separate them from the world, from its affections and lust.
I saw that but few among us answer to this description. Their love to God is in words, not in deed and in truth. Their course of action, their works testify of them, that they are not children of the light, but of darkness. Their works have been in selfishness, in unrighteousness. Their works have not been wrought in God. Their hearts are strangers to his renewing grace. They have not experienced the transforming power which leads them to walk even as Christ walked. Those who are living branches of the heavenly Vine, will partake of the sap and nourishment of the vine. They will not be withered and fruitless branches. They will show life, and vigor, and will flourish and bear fruit to the glory of God. They will be careful to depart from all iniquity, and perfect holiness in the fear of God.
The church has departed from the light, neglected her duties, abused her high and exalted privileges of being peculiar and holy in character, and thereby dishonored her God, like ancient Israel. They have violated their covenant to live for God and him only. They have joined in with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin, are cherished, and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church. Satan works side by side with professed Christians; yet they are so destitute of spirituality and discernment that they do not detect him. They have not the burden of the work. The solemn truths they profess to believe are not a reality to them. They have not genuine faith. Men and women will act out all the faith they in reality possess. By their fruits ye shall know them. Not their profession, but the fruit they bear, shows the character of the true. Many have a form of godliness, their names are upon the church records, but they have a spotted record in Heaven. The recording angel has written deeds. Their acts have been faithfully written. Every selfish act, every wrong word, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling, is faithfully chronicled in the book of records kept by the recording angel.
Very many profess to be servants of Jesus Christ who are none of his. They are deceiving their own souls to their own destruction. While they profess to be servants of Jesus Christ, they are not living in obedience to his will. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Many, while professing to be servants of Jesus Christ, are obeying another master, and working daily against the Master of whom they profess to be servants. No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Earthly and selfish interests engage the mind, soul, and strength, of God's professed followers. They are, to all intents and purposes, servants of mammon. They have not experienced a crucifixion to the world, with its affections and lusts. I saw that but few among the many who profess to be Christ's followers can say in the language of the apostle, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." If willing obedience and true love characterize the lives of the people of God, their light will shine with a holy brightness to the world.
The words of Christ, addressed to his disciples, were designed for all who should believe on his name: "Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men." A profession of godliness without the living principle is as utterly valueless as salt without its saving properties. An unprincipled professed Christian is a by-word, a reproach to Christ, a dishonor to his name. "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill can not be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."
The good works of God's people have a more powerful influence than words. The beholder is attracted by their virtuous life and unselfish acts, to desire the same righteousness which produced so good fruit. They are charmed with that power from God which would transform selfish human beings into the divine, and God is honored, his name glorified. God is dishonored and his cause reproached by his people's being in bondage to the world. They are in friendship with the world, the enemies of God. The only hope of their salvation is a separation from the world, and to zealously maintain their separate, holy and peculiar character. Oh! why will not God's people comply with the conditions laid down in the word of God? If they would do this, they would not fail to realize the excellent blessings freely given of God to the humble and obedient.
I was amazed as I beheld the terrrible darkness of many of the members of our churches. The lack of true godliness was such that they were bodies of darkness and death, instead of being the light of the world. There were many professing to love God, but in works denying him. They did not love him, serve, nor obey him. Their own selfish interests were primary. There seemed to be an alarming lack of principle with a large share. They were swayed by unconsecrated influence, and seemed to have no root in themselves. I inquired what these things meant. Why was there such a destitution of spirituality—so few who had a living experience in religious things? I was referred to the words of the prophet, "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols."
The people of God were represented to me in a backslidden state. They have not an eye single to the glory of God. Their own glory is prominent. They seek to glorify themselves, and yet call themselves Christians. Holiness of heart and purity of life were the great subjects of the teachings of Christ. In his sermon on the mount, after specifying what must be done in order to be blest, and what must not be done, he says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. Perfection, holiness—nothing short of this would give them success in carrying out the principles he had given them. Without this holiness, the human heart is selfish, sinful, and vicious. Holiness will lead its possessor to be fruitful, and abound in all good works. He will never become weary in well-doing, neither look for promotion here in this world. He will look forward to be promoted by the Majesty of Heaven when he shall exalt his sanctified and holy ones to his throne. Then shall he say unto them, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." The Lord enumerates the works of self-denial and mercy, compassion, and righteousness, they had wrought. Holiness of heart will produce right actions. It is the absence of spirituality, of holiness, which has led to unrighteous acts, to envy, hatred, jealousy, evil surmisings, and every hateful and abominable sin.
I have tried in the fear of God to set before his people their danger and their sins; and have endeavored to the best of my feeble powers to arouse them. I have stated startling things, which, if they had believed, would have caused them distress and terror, and led them to zeal in repenting of their sins and iniquities. I have stated before them that, from what was shown me, but a small number of those now professing to believe the truth, would eventually be saved—not because they cannot be saved, but because they will not be saved in God's own appointed way. The way marked out by our divine Lord is too narrow and the gate too strait to admit them with their grasp upon the world, or while cherishing selfishness, or anything wrong. There is no room for these, and yet there are but few who will consent to part with these things, that they may pass the narrow way, and enter the strait gate.
The words of Christ have been plain. "Strive [agonize] to enter in at the strait gate; for many I say unto you shall seek to enter in and shall not be able." Professed Christians are not all so at heart. There are sinners in Zion now, as there were anciently. Isaiah speaks of them in referring to the day of God: "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from the holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil. He shall dwell on high; his defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure."
There are hypocrites now who will tremble when they obtain a view of themselves. Their own vileness will terrify them in the day of God which is soon to come upon us, when the Lord "cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." Oh! that terror may now get hold upon them, that they may have a vivid sense of their condition, and arouse while there is mercy and hope, confess their sins, and humble their souls greatly before God, that he may pardon their transgressions, and heal their backslidings. The people of God are unready for the fearful, trying scenes before us, unready to stand pure from evil and lust amid the perils and corruptions of this degenerate age. They have not on the armor of righteousness, and are unprepared to war against the prevailing sin and iniquity around them. Many are not obeying the commandments of God; yet they profess so to do. If they would be faithful to obey all the statutes of God, they would have a power which would carry conviction to the hearts of the unbelieving.
I have sought to do my duty. I have pointed out the special sins of some. I was shown that the sins and errors of all in the wisdom of God would not be revealed. All would have sufficient light; all could see, if they desired to do so, and earnestly wished to put their sins and errors from them, and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. They could see what sins God marked and reproved in others. If these sins were cherished by them, they should know that they were abhorred of God, and were separated from him; and unless they earnestly and zealously set about the work to put them away, they would be left in darkness. God is too pure to behold iniquity. A sin marked in one is just as grievous in the sight of God in every case. There will be no exception made by an impartial God. All who are guilty are addressed in these individual testimonies, although their names may not be attached to the special testimony borne; and if individuals pass over their own sins because their names are not especially called, if they cover their sins, they will not be prospered of God. They cannot advance in the divine life, but will become darker and darker until the light of Heaven will be entirely withdrawn.
Men and women professing godliness, yet not sanctified by the truth they profess, will not change materially their course of action, which they know is hateful before God, because they are not subjected to the trial of being reproved individually for their sins. They see, by the testimonies of others, their own case faithfully pointed out before them. They are cherishing the same evil. By continuing their course of sin, they are violating their consciences, hardening their hearts, and stiffening their necks, just the same as if the testimony had been borne directly to them. In passing on, and refusing to put away their sins and correct their wrongs by humble confession, repentance, and humiliation, they choose their own way, and are given up to the same, and are finally led captive by Satan at his will. They may become quite bold because they are able to conceal their sins from others, and because the judgments of God are not seen in a visible manner upon them. They may be apparently prosperous in this world. They may deceive poor, short-sighted mortals, and be regarded as patterns of piety while in their sins. God cannot be deceived. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him. But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God." Although the life of the sinner may be prolonged upon the earth, yet not in the earth made new. He shall be of that number David mentions in his psalm: "For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth."
Mercy and truth are promised to the humble and penitent, and judgments are prepared for the sinful and rebellious. "Justice and judgments are the habitation of Thy throne." A wicked and adulterous people will not escape the wrath of God and the punishment they have justly earned. Man has fallen, and his is a work of a lifetime, be it longer or shorter, to recover from his fall, and regain, through Christ, the image of the divine, which he has lost by sin and continued transgression. God requires a thorough transformation of soul, body and spirit, in order to regain the estate lost through Adam. The Lord mercifully sends rays of light to show him his true condition. If he will not walk in the light, he manifests a pleasure in darkness. He will not come to the light lest his deeds shall be reproved.
The case of N. Fuller has caused me much grief and anguish of spirit. That he should yield himself to the control of Satan to work wickedness as he has done, is terrible. I believe that God designed this case of hypocrisy and villainy should be brought to light in the manner it has been, to prove a warning to others. Here is a man acquainted with the Bible teachings. He has listened to testimonies that I have borne in his presence against the very sins he has been practicing. He has heard me speak, more than once, decidedly in regard to the prevailing sins of this generation, that corruption was teeming everywhere, that base passions controlled men and women generally; that among the masses crimes of the darkest dye were continually practiced, and they were reeking in their own corruption. The nominal churches are filled with these sins of fornication and adultery, crime and murder, the result of base, lustful passion, but these things are kept covered. Ministers, in high places, are guilty, yet a cloak of godliness covers their dark deeds, and they pass on from year to year in their course of hypocrisy. Their sins have reached unto Heaven, and the honest in heart will be brought to the light, and come out of her.
From the light God has given me, fornication and adultery are estimated, by a large number of the first-day Adventists, as sins which God winketh at. These sins are practiced to a great extent. They do not acknowledge the claims upon them. They have broken the commandments of the great Jehovah, and are zealously teaching their hearers to do the same, declaring the law of God abolished, having no claims upon them. In accordance with this free state of things, sin does not appear so exceedingly sinful; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. We may expect to find men in this company who will deceive, and lie, and give loose reign to lustful passions. But men and women who acknowledge the ten commandments binding, who observe the fourth commandment of the decalogue, should carry out in their lives, the principles of all ten of the precepts given in awful grandeur from Sinai.
The Seventh-day Adventists who profess to be looking for, and loving, the appearing of Christ, should not follow the course of worldlings. They are no criterion for commandment-keepers. Neither should they pattern after the first-day Adventists, who trample under foot the law of God, and who will not acknowledge its claims. This class should be no criterion for them. Commandment-keeping Adventist are occupying a peculiar, exalted position. John viewed them in holy vision, and described them. Here are they who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.
The Lord made a special covenant with his ancient Israel if they would prove faithful, "Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." He addresses his commandment-keeping people in these last days, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul."
All who profess to keep the commandments of God are not possessing their bodies in sanctification and honor. The most solemn message ever committed to mortals has been intrusted to this people, and they can have a powerful influence if they will be sanctified by the truths they profess. They profess to be standing upon the elevated platform of eternal truth, keeping all of God's commandments; therefore, if they indulge in sin, if they commit fornication and adultery, their crime is of tenfold greater magnitude than the classes I have named who do not acknowledge the law of God binding upon them. In a peculiar sense do those who profess to keep God's law dishonor him and reproach the truth by transgressing the law of God.
This very sin, fornication, prevailed among ancient Israel, which brought the signal manifestation of God's displeasure. The judgments of God then followed close upon their heinous sin, and thousands of them fell, and their polluted bodies were left in the wilderness. "But with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."
Seventh-day Adventists, above all people in the world, should be patterns of piety, holy in heart and in conversation. I related in the presence of N. Fuller that the people whom God had chosen as his peculiar treasure, he required to be elevated, refined, sanctified; partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Should they indulge in sin and iniquity who make so high a profession, their guilt would be very great. He would reprove the sins of one, that others might take warning, and fear.
The warnings, corrections, and reproofs, are not given to the erring among Seventh-day Adventists because their lives are more blame-worthy than professed Christians of the nominal churches, or because their acts and example are worse than the Adventists who will not yield obedience to the claims of God's law; but because they have great light, and have by their profession taken their position as God's special, chosen people, having the law of God written in their hearts. They signify their loyalty to the God of Heaven by yielding obedience to the laws of his government. They are God's representatives upon the earth. Any sin or transgression in them, separates them from God, and, in a special manner, dishonors his name by giving the enemies of God's holy law occasion to reproach his cause and his people, whom he has called "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people," that they should show forth the praises of Him that hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light.
The people who are at war with the law of the great Jehovah, who consider it a special virtue to talk, and write, and act, the most bitter and hateful things, to show their contempt of that law, may make high and exalted profession of love to God, and apparently have much religious zeal, as did the Jewish chief priests and elders; yet in the day of God, "Found wanting" will be said by the Majesty of Heaven. By the law is the knowledge of sin. The mirror which would discover to them the defects in their character, they are infuriated against, because it points out their sins. Leading Adventists who have rejected the light are fired with madness against God's holy law, as the Jewish nation were against the Son of God. They are in a terrible deception, deceiving souls and being deceived themselves. They will not come to the light lest their deeds should be reproved. Such will not be taught. But the people who profess to keep the law of God, he corrects, he reproves. He points out their sins, and lays open their iniquity; because he wishes to separate all sin and wickedness from them, that they may perfect holiness in his fear, and be prepared to die in the Lord, or for translation to Heaven. God will rebuke, reprove, and correct them, that they may be refined, sanctified, elevated, and finally exalted to his own throne.
Eld. Fuller has heard the testimony borne in public, that the professed people of God were not all holy; some were corrupt. God was seeking to elevate them, but they refused to come up upon a high plane of action. The animal passions bore sway, and the moral and intellectual were overborne, and made servants to the corrupt passions. Those who do not control their base passions cannot appreciate the atonement, or place right value upon the worth of the soul. Salvation to them is not experienced nor understood. The gratification of their animal passions is to them the highest ambition of their lives. Nothing but purity and holiness will God accept; one spot, one wrinkle, one defect in the character, will debar Heaven, with all its glories and treasure, from them forever.
Ample provisions have been made for all who sincerely, earnestly, and thoughtfully, set about the work of perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Power and strength, grace and glory, have been provided through Christ, to be brought by ministering angels to the heirs of salvation. None are so low, and corrupt, and vile, but that they can find in Jesus, who died for them, strength, purity, and righteousness, if they will put away their sins, stop their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God. He is waiting to strip them of their garments, stained and polluted by sin, and to put upon them the white, bright robes of righteousness; and he bids them live and not die. In him they may flourish. Their branches will not wither nor be fruitless. If they abide in him, they can draw sap and nourishment from him, be imbued with his Spirit, and walk even as he has walked, and overcome as he has overcome, and be exalted to his own right hand.
Eld. Fuller has been warned. The warnings given to others condemned him. The sins reproved in others reproved him, and gave him sufficient light how God regarded crimes of such a character as he was committing; yet he would not turn from his evil course. He pursued his fearful, impious work, corrupting the bodies and souls of his flock. Satan had strengthened the lustful passions which this man did not subdue, and engaged them in his cause to lead souls to death.
While he professed to keep the law of God, he was, in a most wanton manner, violating its plain precepts. He has given himself up to the gratification of sensual pleasure. He has sold himself to work wickedness. What will be the wages of such a man? The indignation and wrath of God will punish him for sin. The vengeance of God will be aroused against those whose lustful passions have been concealed under a ministerial cloak. While professing to be a shepherd of the flock, he was leading the flock to certain ruin. These dreadful results are the fruits of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
I was referred to this Scripture: "Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it, in the lust thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Professed Christians, if there is no further light given you than that contained in this text, you will be without excuse if you suffer yourselves to be controlled by base passions.
The word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, to be understood by those who have any wish to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some of those who profess to make the word of God their study, are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then to leave men and women without excuse, God has given plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them to the word they have neglected to follow. Yet all the light is turned from by those who serve their own lusts, and they will not cease their course of sin, but continue to take pleasure in unrighteousness, in the face of the threatenings and vengeance of God against those who do such things.
I have long been designing to speak to my sisters, and tell them that, from what the Lord has been pleased to show me from time to time, there is a great fault among them. They are not careful to abstain from all appearance of evil. They are not all circumspect in their deportment, as becometh women professing godliness. Their words are not as select and well chosen as should be for women who have received the grace of God. They are too familiar with their brethren. They linger around them, incline towards them, and seem to choose their society. They are highly gratified with their attention.
From the light the Lord has given me, our sisters should pursue a very different course. They should be more reserved, and manifest less boldness, and encourage in themselves "shamefacedness and sobriety." There is too much jovial talk indulged in among our brethren, as well as our sisters, when in each other's society. There is much jesting and joking and laughing indulged in by women professing godliness. This is all unbecoming, and grieves the Spirit of God. These exhibitions manifest a lack of true Christian refinement. These things indulged in do not strengthen the soul in God, but bring great darkness, drive the pure, refined, heavenly angels away, and bring those who engage in these wrongs down to a low level.
All our sisters should encourage true meekness, not to be forward, talkative, and bold, but modest and unassuming, slow to speak. They may cherish courteousness. To be kind, tender, pitiful, forgiving, and humble, would be becoming and well pleasing to God. If they occupy this position, they will not be burdened with undue attention from gentlemen or their brethren. There will be felt by all that there is a sacred circle of purity around these God-fearing women, which shields them from any unwarrantable liberties. There is too much careless, loose, coarse freedom of manner by some women professing godliness, which leads to wrong and evil.
Those godly women who occupy their minds and hearts in meditating upon themes which would strengthen purity of life, which would elevate the soul to commune with God, will not be easily led astray from the path of rectitude and virtue. They will be fortified against the sophistry of Satan, and are prepared to withstand his seductive arts.
The fashion of the world, the desire of the eye, and the lust of the flesh or vain glory, are connected with the fall of the unfortunate. That which is pleasing to the natural heart and carnal mind is cherished. If the lust of the flesh had been rooted out of their hearts, they would not be so weak. If our sisters would feel the necessity of purifying their thoughts, and never suffer themselves to be careless in their deportment, which leads to improper acts, they need not stain in the least their purity. They would, if they view the matter as God has presented it to me, bear such an abhorrence to impure acts and deeds that they would not be found among the number who fall through the temptations of Satan, no matter who the medium might be whom Satan should select.
A preacher may be dealing in sacred, holy things, and yet not be holy in heart. He may give himself to Satan to work wickedness, and to corrupt the soul and body of his flock. Yet if the minds of women and youth professing to love and fear God were fortified with the Spirit of God, if they had trained their minds to purity of thought, and educated themselves to avoid all appearance of evil, they would be safe from any improper advances, and be secure from the prevailing corruption around them. The Apostle Paul has written concerning himself, "But I keep my body under, and bring it in subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
If a minister of the gospel has not control of his baser passions, if he fails to follow the example of the apostle, and so dishonors his profession and faith as to even name the indulgence of sin, our sisters who profess godliness should not for an instant flatter themselves that sin and crime lose their sinfulness in the least because their minister dares to engage in them. Because men who are in responsible places show themselves to be familiar with sin, it should not lessen the guilt and enormity of the sin in the minds of any. Sin should appear just as sinful, just as abhorrent, as they had heretofore regarded it; and the one who indulges in sin should, in the minds of the pure and elevated, be abhorred and withdrawn from, as they would flee from a serpent whose sting was deadly.
If the sisters were elevated and possessing purity of heart, any corrupt advances, even from their minister, would be repulsed with such positiveness as would never meet with a repetition. Minds must be terribly befogged by Satan, that can listen to the voice of the seducer because he is a minister, and therefore break God's plain and positive commands, and flatter themselves that they commit no sin. Have we not the words of John: "He that saith I know Him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him"? What saith the law? "Thou shalt not commit adultery." The fact of a man's professing to keep God's holy law, and ministering in sacred things, and taking the advantage of the confidence his position gives him to indulge his base passions, should, of itself, be sufficient for a woman professing godliness, to see that, although his profession was as exalted as the heavens, any impure proposal coming from him was Satan disguised through the minister, as an angel of light. I cannot believe that the word of God is abiding in the hearts of those who are so readily controlled, and yield up their innocency and virtue upon the altar of lustful passions.
My sisters, avoid even the appearance of evil. In this fast age reeking with corruption, you are not safe unless you stand guarded. Virtue and modesty are rare. I appeal to you as followers of Jesus Christ, making a high and exalted profession, to cherish this precious, priceless gem, modesty. This will guard virtue. If you have any hope of being finally exalted to join company with the pure, sinless angels, and live in an atmosphere where there is not the least taint of sin, cherish modesty and virtue. Nothing but purity, sacred purity, will abide the day of God, stand the grand review, and be received into a pure and holy Heaven.
The least insinuations, come from whatever source they may, inviting you to indulge in sin, or to allow the least unwarrantable liberty with your persons, resent as the worst of insults to your dignified womanhood. The kiss upon your cheek, at an improper time and place, should lead you to repel the emissary of Satan with disgust. If it is from one in high places who is dealing in sacred things, the sin, in such a one, is of tenfold greater magnitude, and should lead a God-fearing woman, or youth, to recoil with horror, not only from the sin he would have you commit, but from the hypocrisy and villainy of one whom the people respect and honor as God's servant. He is handling sacred things, yet hiding his baseness of heart under a ministerial cloak. Be afraid of anything like this familiarity. Be sure the least approach to it is the evidence of a lascivious mind and a lustful eye. If the least encouragement is given in this direction, if any of the liberties mentioned are tolerated, no better evidence can you give that your mind is not pure and chaste as it should be, and that sin and crime have charms for you. You lower the standard of your dignified, virtuous womanhood, and give unmistakable evidence that a low, brutal, common passion and lust has been suffered to remain alive in your heart, and has never been crucified.
As I have been shown the dangers of, and sins among, those who profess better things—a class who are not suspected of being in any danger from these polluting sins—I have been led to inquire, Who, O Lord, shall stand when thou appearest? Only those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall abide the day of his coming.
I feel impelled by the Spirit of the Lord to urge my sisters who profess godliness to cherish modesty of deportment and a becoming reserve, with shamefacedness and sobriety. The liberties taken in this age of corruption should be no criterion for Christ's followers. These fashionable exhibitions of familiarity should not exist among Christians fitting for immortality. If lasciviousness, pollution, adultery, crime, and murder is the order of the day among those who know not the truth, and who refuse to be controlled by the principles of God's word, how important that the class professing to be followers of Christ, closely allied to God and angels, should show them a better and nobler way. How important that their chastity and virtue stand in marked contrast to that of the class who are controlled by brute passions.
I have inquired, When will the youthful sisters act with propriety? I know there will not be any decided change for the better until parents feel the importance of greater carefulness in educating their children correctly. Teach them to act with reserve and modesty. Educate them for usefulness, to be helps, to minister to others rather than be waited upon, and be ministered unto.
Satan has the control of the minds of the youth generally. Your daughters are not taught self-denial and self-control. They are petted, and their pride is fostered. They are allowed to have their own way until they become headstrong and self-willed, and you are put to your wits' end to know what course to pursue, to save them from ruin. Satan is leading them on to be a proverb in the mouths of unbelievers, because of their boldness, lack of reserve and female modesty. The young boys are likewise left to have their own way. They have scarcely entered their teens before they are by the side of little girls about their own age, accompanying them home, and making love to them. And the parents are so completely in bondage through their own indulgence and mistaken love for their children that they dare not pursue a decided course to make a change and restrain their too-fast children, in this fast age.
With many young ladies the boys is the theme of conversation, with the young men it is the girls. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. They talk of those subjects upon which their minds mostly run. The recording angel is writing the words of these professed Christian boys and girls. How will they be confused and ashamed when they meet them again in the day of God. There are too many children who are pious hypocrites. The youth who have not made a profession of religion stumble over these hypocritical ones, and are hardened against any effort that may be made by those interested in their salvation.
There ought to be picked men at the heart of the work, who can be relied upon in every emergency to keep the fort—men who are unselfish, abounding in generosity and all good works, whose lives are hid in God, and who consider the better life of more value than food and clothing. "Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" God calls for faithful sentinels right at the heart of the work, who will love souls for whom Christ died, who will bear the burden for perishing souls, looking forward to that recompense of reward which will be theirs when they enter into the joy of their Lord, and behold souls saved through their instrumentality, to live as long as God shall live, and be happy, eternally happy, in his glorious kingdom. Oh! that we could arouse fathers and mothers to have a sense of their duty. Oh! that they would feel deeply the weight of responsibility resting upon them. Then they might forestall the enemy, and gain precious victories for Jesus. Parents are not clear in this matter. They should investigate their lives closely, analyze their thoughts and motives, and see if they have been circumspect in their course of action. They should closely watch, to see if their example in conversation and deportment has been such as they would wish their children to imitate. Have purity and virtue shine out in your words and acts before your children.
I have been shown families where the husband and father has not preserved that reserve, that dignified, godlike manhood, which a follower of Jesus Christ should. He has failed in his kind, tender, courteous acts due to his wife, whom he has promised before God and angels to love and respect and honor while they both shall live. The girl employed to do the work has been free and somewhat forward in her attentions to dress his hair and be affectionately attentive, and he is pleased, foolishly pleased. He is not as demonstrative in his attention and love as he once was to his wife. Be sure Satan is at work here. Respect your hired help, treat them kindly, considerately, but go no farther. Let your deportment be such that there will be no advances to familiarity from your help. If you have words of kindness and acts of courtesy to give, it is always safe to give them to your wife. It will be a great blessing to her, and will bring happiness to her heart which will be reflected back upon you again. Also, I have been shown that the wife has let her sympathies and interest and affection go out to other men. They may be members of the family, whom she makes confidants, relating her troubles and, perhaps, her private family matters, to them. She shows a preference for their society.
This is all wrong. Satan is at the bottom of it; and unless you are alarmed, and stop just where you are, he will lead you to ruin. You cannot observe too great caution, and encourage too much reserve in this matter. If you have tender, loving words and kindly attentions to bestow, let it be given him you have promised before God and angels to love, honor, and respect, while you both shall live. Oh! how many lives are made bitter by the walls' being broken down which inclose the privacies of every family, calculated to preserve purity and sanctity. A third person is taken into the confidence of the wife, and her private family matters are laid open before the special friend. This is the device of Satan to estrange the hearts of the husband and wife. Oh! that this would cease. What a world of trouble would be saved! Lock the faults of one another within your own hearts. Tell your troubles alone to God. He can give you right counsel and sure consolation, which will be pure, having no bitterness in it.
I am acquainted with a number of cases where the women have thought their marriage a misfortune. They have read novels until their imaginations have become diseased, and they live in a world of their own creating. They think themselves women of sensitive minds, of superior, refined organizations. They think themselves great sufferers, martyrs, because they imagine their husbands are not so refined, possessing such superior qualities that they can appreciate their own supposed virtue and refined organizations. These women have talked of this, and thought upon it, until they are nearly maniacs upon this subject. They imagine their worth is superior to other mortals, and it is not agreeable to their fine sensibilities to associate with common humanity. These women are making themselves fools; and their husbands are in danger of being drawn in to think that they possess a superior order of minds.
From what the Lord has shown me, the women of this class have had their imaginations perverted by novel-reading, day-dreaming, and castle-building—living in an imaginary world. They do not bring their ideas down to the common, useful duties of life. They do not take up the life-burdens which lie in their path, and seek to make a happy, cheerful home for their husbands. They lean their whole weight upon them without so much as bearing their own burden. They expect others to anticipate their wants, and do for them, while they are at liberty to find fault and to question as they please. These women have a love-sick sentimentalism, constantly thinking they are not appreciated; that their husbands do not give them all that attention they deserve. They imagine themselves martyrs.
The truth of the matter is this, if they would show themselves useful, their value might be appreciated; but when they pursue a course to constantly draw upon others for sympathy and attention, while they feel under no obligation to give the same in return, passing along reserved, cold, and unapproachable, bearing no burden for others or feeling for their woes, there can be but little in their lives precious and valuable. These women have educated themselves to think and act as though it has been a great condescension in them to marry the men they have; and therefore that their fine organizations would never be fully appreciated. They have viewed things all wrong. They are unworthy of their husbands. They are a constant tax upon their care and patience, when at the same time, they might be helps, lifting the burdens of life with their husbands, instead of dreaming over unreal life found in novels and love romances. May the Lord pity the men who are bound to such useless machines, fit only to be waited upon, to eat, dress, and breathe.
These women who suppose they possess such sensitive, refined organizations make very useless wives and mothers. It is frequently the case that the affections will be withdrawn from their husbands, who are useful, practical men; and they will show much attention for other men, and will with their love-sick sentimentalism draw upon the sympathies of others, tell them their trials, their troubles, their aspirations to do some high and elevated work, and reveal the fact that their married life is a disappointment, a hinderance to their doing the work they have anticipated they might do.
Oh! what wretchedness exists in families that might be happy. These women are a curse to themselves, and a curse to their husbands. In supposing themselves to be angels, they make themselves fools, and are nothing but heavy burdens. They leave the common duties of life, right in their path, which the Lord has left for them to do, and are restless and complaining, always looking for an easy, more exalted, and more agreeable work to do. Those supposing themselves to be angels are found human after all. They are fretful, peevish, dissatisfied, jealous of their husbands because the larger portion of their time is not spent in waiting upon them. They complain of being neglected when their husbands are doing the very work they ought to do. Satan finds easy access to this class. They have no real love for any one but themselves. Yet Satan tells them that if such a one were their husband, they would be happy indeed. They are easy victims to the device of Satan, being readily led to dishonor their own husbands and to transgress the law of God.
I would say to women of this description, You can make your own happiness or destroy it. You can make your position happy or unbearable. The course you pursue will create happiness or misery for yourself. Have these never thought that their husbands must tire of them in their uselessness, in their peevishness, in their fault-finding, in their passionate fits of weeping, while imagining their case so pitiful? Their irritable, peevish disposition is indeed weaning the affections of their husbands from them, and they drive them to seek for sympathy, and peace, and comfort elsewhere than at home. A poisonous atmosphere is in their dwelling, and home is anything but a place of rest, of peace, of happiness, to them. The husband is subject to Satan's temptation, and his affections are placed on forbidden objects, and he is lurred on to crime, and finally lost.
Great is the work and mission of women, especially those who are wives and mothers. They can be a blessing to all around them. They can have a powerful influence for good if they will let their light so shine that others may be led to glorify our Heavenly Father. Women may have a transforming influence if they will only consent to yield their way and their will to God, and let him control their mind, affections, and being. They can have an influence which will tend to refine and elevate those with whom they associate. But this class are generally unconscious of the power they possess. They exert an unconscious influence. It seems to work out naturally from a sanctified life, a renewed heart. It is the fruit that grows naturally upon the good tree of divine planting. Self is forgotten and immerged in the life of Christ. To be rich in good works comes as naturally as their breath. They live to do others good, and yet are ready to say, We are unprofitable servants.
God has assigned woman her mission, and if she, in her humble way, to the best of her ability, makes a heaven of her home, faithfully and lovingly performing her home-duties to her husband and children, continually seeking to let a holy light shine from her useful, pure, and virtuous life to brighten all around her, she is doing the work left her of the Master, and will hear from his divine lips, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." These women who are doing what their hands find to do with ready willingness, and with cheerfulness of spirit aiding their husbands to bear their burdens, and training their children for God, are missionaries in the highest sense. They are engaged in an important branch of the great work to be done on earth to prepare mortals for a higher life; and they will receive their reward. Children are to be trained for Heaven, and fitted to shine in the courts of the Lord's kingdom. When parents have a true sense of the important, responsible work God has left for them to do, especially mothers, they will not be so much engaged in the business which concerns their neighbors, with which they have nothing to do. They will not engage in the fashionable gossip from house to house, dwelling upon the faults, wrongs, and inconsistencies of their neighbors. They will feel so great a burden of care for their own children that they can find no time to take up a reproach against their neighbor. Gossipers and news-carriers are a terrible curse to neighborhoods and churches. Two-thirds of all the church trials arise from this source.
God requires all to do the duties of today with faithfulness. This is much neglected by the larger share of professed Christians. Especially is present duty lost sight of by the class I have mentioned, who imagine that they are of a finer order of beings than their fellow-mortals around them. The fact of their minds' turning in this channel, is proof that they are of inferior order, narrow, conceited, and selfish. They feel high above the lowly and humble poor. Such, Jesus says he has called. They are forever trying to secure position, to gain applause, to obtain credit for doing a work that others cannot do, some great work. But it disturbs the fine grain of their refined organism to associate with the humble, the unfortunate. They mistake the reason altogether. The reason they shun any of these duties not so agreeable, is because of their supreme selfishness. Dear self is the center of all their actions and motives.
I was pointed to the Majesty of Heaven. He whom angels worshiped, he who was rich in honor, splendor, and glory, came to the earth, and when he found himself in fashion as a man, he did not plead his refined nature as an excuse to hold himself aloof from the unfortunate. He was found in his work among the afflicted, the poor, distressed, and needy ones. Christ was the embodiment of refinement and purity. His was an exalted life and character, yet he was found in his labor, not among men of high-sounding titles, not among the most honorable of this world, but with the despised and needy. "I came," says the divine Teacher, "to save that which was lost." Yes, the Majesty of Heaven was ever found working to help those who most needed help. May the example of Christ put to shame the excuses of that class who are so attracted to their poor self that they consider it beneath their refined taste and their high calling to help the most helpless. Such have taken a position higher than their Lord, and in the end will be astonished to find themselves lower than the lowliest of that class their refined, sensitive natures were shocked to mingle with and work for. True, it may not always be agreeable or pleasant to unite with the Master and be co-workers with him in helping the very class who stand most in need of help. But this is the work Christ humbled himself to do. Is the servant greater than his Lord? He has given the example, and enjoins upon us to copy it. It may be disagreeable, yet duty demands that just such a work be performed.
There are needed faithful and picked men at the head of the work. Those who have not had an experience in bearing burdens, and do not wish to have that experience, should not, on any account, live there. Men are wanted who will watch for souls as they that must give an account. Fathers and mothers in Israel are wanted at this important post. Let the selfish and self-caring, the stingy, covetous souls find a location where their miserable traits of character will not be so conspicuous. The more isolated such ones are, the better for the cause of God. I appeal to the people of God, wherever they may be found, Awake to your duty. Take it to heart that we are really living amid the perils of the last days.
I hope that the case of Nathan Fuller will awaken you, fathers and mothers, to see the necessity of thorough work being done in your houses, among yourselves and your children, that not one of you may be so deluded by Satan as to regard sin as this poor, much-to-be-pitied man has done. Those who have participated with him in crime would never have been left to be deceived and ruined had they possessed a high sense of virtue and purity, and had they cherished a constant and lively horror of sin and iniquity. While living under and proclaiming the most solemn message ever borne to mortals, presenting the law of God as a test of character and as the seal of the living God, they are transgressing its holy precepts. The consciences of those who do this are terribly hardened. They have become seared by resisting the influences of the Spirit of God, until they can use sacred truth as a cloak to hide the deformity of their corrupted souls. This man has been terribly deluded by Satan. He has been serving vicious passions while professing to be consecrated to the work of God, ministering in sacred things. He has considered himself in health while there was no soundness in him.
I have felt deeply as I have seen the powerful influence animal passions have had in controlling men and women of no ordinary intelligence and ability. They are capable of engaging in a good work, of exerting a powerful influence, were they not enslaved by base passions. My confidence in humanity has been terribly shaken. I have been shown that persons of apparently good deportment, not taking unwarrantable liberties with the other sex, were guilty of practicing secret vice nearly every day of their lives. This terrible sin has not even been refrained from while most solemn meetings have been in session. They have listened to the most solemn, impressive discourses upon the Judgment, which seemed to bring them before the tribunal of God, causing them to fear and quake, yet an hour would hardly elapse before they have been engaged in their favorite, bewitching sin, polluting their own bodies. They were such slaves to this awful crime that they seemed devoid of power to control their passions. We have labored for some earnestly; we have entreated, we have wept and prayed over them, yet we have known that right amid all our earnest effort and distress the force of sinful habit has obtained the mastery. These sins would be committed. The consciences of some of the guilty, through severe attacks of sickness, or being powerfully convicted, have been aroused, and have so scourged them that it has led to confession of these things, with deep humiliation. Others are alike guilty. They have practiced this sin nearly their whole lifetime, and in their broken-down constitutions, and, with their sieve-like memories, are reaping the result of this pernicious habit, yet are too proud to confess. They are secretive, and have not shown compunctions of conscience for this great sin and wickedness. My confidence in the Christian experience of such is very small. They seem to be insensible to the influence of the Spirit of God. The sacred and common are alike to them. The common practice of a vice so degrading as the polluting of their own bodies has not led to bitter tears and heartfelt repentance. They feel that their sin is against themselves alone. Here they mistake. Are they diseased in body or mind, others are made to feel—others suffer. Mistakes are made. The memory is deficient. The imagination is at fault; and there is a deficiency everywhere which seriously affects those with whom they live, and who associate with them. These feel mortification and regret because these things are known by another.
I have mentioned these cases to illustrate the power of this soul-and-body-destroying vice. The entire mind is given up to low passion. The moral and intellectual are overborne by the baser powers. The body is enervated; the brain is weakened. The material there deposited to nourish the system is squandered. The drain upon the system is great. The fine nerves of the brain, by being excited to unnatural action, become benumbed and in a measure paralyzed. The moral and intellectual are weakening, while the animal passions are strengthening, and being more largely developed by exercise. The appetite for unhealthful food clamors for indulgence. It is impossible to arouse the moral sensibilities of those persons who are addicted to the habit of self-abuse, to appreciate eternal things. You cannot lead such to delight in spiritual exercises. Impure thoughts seize and control the imagination, and fascinate the mind, and next follows an almost uncontrollable desire for the performance of impure actions. If the mind were educated to contemplate elevating subjects, the imagination trained to reflect upon pure and holy things, it would be fortified against this terrible, debasing, soul-and-body-destroying indulgence. It would, by training, become accustomed to linger upon the high, the heavenly, the pure, and the sacred, and could not be attracted to this base, corrupt, and vile indulgence.
What can we say of those who are living right in the blazing light of truth, yet daily practicing and following in a course of sin and crime. Forbidden, exciting pleasures have a charm for them, and hold and control their entire being. Such take pleasure in unrighteousness and iniquity, and must perish outside of the city of God, with every abominable thing.
I have sought to arouse parents to their duty, yet they sleep on. Your children are practicing secret vice, and they deceive you. You have such implicit confidence in them, that you think them too good and innocent to be capable of secretly practicing iniquity. Parents fondle and pet their children, and indulge them in pride, but do not restrain them with firmness and decision. They are so much afraid of their willful, stubborn spirits, that they fear to come in contact with them; but the sin of negligence, which was marked against Eli, will be their sin. The exhortation of Peter is of the highest value to all who are striving for immortality. Those of like precious faith are addressed:
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
We are in a world where light and knowledge abound; yet many claiming to be of like precious faith are willingly ignorant. Light is all around them; yet they do not appropriate it to themselves. Parents do not see the necessity of informing themselves, obtaining knowledge, and putting that knowledge to a practical use in their married life. If they followed out the exhortation of the apostle, and lived upon the plan of addition, they would not be unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many do not understand the work of sanctification. It is a progressive work. It is not attained to in an hour or a day, and then maintained without any special effort on their part. They seem to think they have attained to it when they have only learned the first lessons in addition.
Many parents do not obtain the knowledge that they should in the married life. They are not guarded lest Satan take advantage of them, and control their minds and their lives. They do not see that God requires them to control their married lives from any excesses. But very few feel it to be a religious duty to govern their passions. They have united themselves in marriage to the object of their choice, and therefore reason that marriage sanctifies the indulgence of the baser passions. Even men and women professing godliness give loose rein to their lustful passions, and have no thought that God holds them accountable for the expenditure of vital energy, which weakens their hold on life and enervates the entire system.
The marriage covenant covers sins of the darkest hue. Men and women professing godliness debase their own bodies through the indulgence of the corrupt passions, which lowers them beneath the brute creation. They abuse the powers God has given them to be preserved in sanctification and honor. Health and life are sacrificed upon the altar of base passion. The higher, nobler powers are brought into subjection to the animal propensities. Those who thus sin are not acquainted with the result of their course. Could all see the amount of suffering they bring upon themselves by their own wrong and sinful indulgence, they would be alarmed. Some, at least, would shun the course of sin which brings such dreaded wages. A miserable existence is entailed upon so large a class that death to them would be preferable to life; and many do die prematurely, their lives sacrificed in the inglorious work of excessive indulgence of the animal passions. Because they are married, they think they commit no sin.
Men and women, you will one day learn what is lust, and the result of its gratification. Passion may be found of just as base a quality in the marriage relation as outside of it. The apostle Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives "even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church." It is not pure love which actuates a man to make his wife an instrument to administer to his lust. It is the animal passions which clamor for indulgence. How few men show their love in the manner specified by the apostle: "Even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might [not pollute it, but] sanctify and cleanse it," "that it should be holy and without blemish." This is the quality of love in the married relation which God recognizes as holy. Love is a pure and holy principle. Lustful passion will not admit of restraint, and will not be dictated or controlled by reason. It is blind to consequences. It will not reason from cause to effect. Many women are suffering from great debility, and with settled disease, brought upon them because the laws of their being were not regarded. Nature's laws were trampled upon. The brain nerve-power is squandered by men and women because called into unnatural action to gratify base passions, and this hideous monster, base, low passion, assumes the delicate name of love.
Many professed Christians passed before me, who seemed destitute of moral restraint. They were more animal than divine. They were, in fact, about all animal. Men of this type degrade the wife they have promised to nourish and cherish. She is made by him an instrument to minister to the gratification of his low, lustful propensities. Very many women submit to become slaves to lustful passion. They do not possess their bodies in sanctification and honor. The wife does not retain the dignity and self-respect she possessed previous to marriage. This holy institution should have preserved and increased her womanly respect and holy dignity. Her chaste, dignified, godlike womanhood, has been consumed upon the altar of base passions. This has been sacrificed to please her husband. She soon loses respect for her husband, who does not regard the laws to which the brute creation yields obedience. The married life becomes a galling yoke; for love dies out, and, frequently, distrust, jealousy, and hate, take its place.
No man can truly love his wife who will patiently submit to become his slave, and minister to his degraded passions. She loses, in her passive submission, the value she once possessed in his eyes. He sees her dragged down from everything elevating, to a low level; and soon he suspicions that she will, may be, as tamely submit to be degraded by another as by himself. He doubts her constancy and purity, tires of her, and seeks new objects which will arouse and intensify his hellish passions. The law of God is not regarded. These men are worse than brutes. They are demons in human form. They are unacquainted with the elevating, ennobling principles of true, sanctified love.
The wife becomes jealous of the husband. She suspects that he will just as readily pay his addresses to another as to her, if opportunity should offer. She sees that he is not controlled by conscience, nor the fear of God. All these sanctified barriers are broken down by lustful passions. All that is godlike in the husband is made the servant of low, brutish lust.
The world is filled with men and women of this order; and neat, tasty, yea, expensive, houses contain a hell within. Imagine, if you can, what the offspring of such parents must be. Will not the children sink lower in the scale than their parents have done? The parents have given the stamp of character to their children. Children that are born of these parents inherit qualities of mind from them which are of a low and base order. Satan nourishes anything tending to corruption. The matter now to be settled is, shall the wife feel bound to yield implicitly to the demands of her husband when she sees that nothing but base passions control him, and when her reason and knowledge are convinced that she does it to the injury of her body, which God has enjoined upon her to possess in sanctification and honor, to preserve a living sacrifice to God?
It is not pure, holy love which leads the wife to gratify the animal propensities of her husband at the expense of health and life. If she possesses true love and wisdom, she will seek to divert the mind of her husband from the gratification of lustful passions, to high and spiritual themes, dwelling upon interesting spiritual subjects. It may be necessary to humbly and affectionately urge, even at the risk of his displeasure, that she cannot debase her body by yielding to sexual excess. She should, in a tender, kind manner, remind him that God has the first and highest claim upon her entire being, which claim she cannot disregard, for she will be held accountable in the great day of God. "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men."
Woman can do much if she will, through her judicious influence, by elevating her affections, and in sanctification and honor preserving her refined, womanly dignity. In thus doing, she can save her husband and herself, thus performing a double work, and fulfilling her high mission, sanctifying her husband by her influence. In this delicate, difficult matter to manage, much wisdom and patience are necessary, as well as moral courage and fortitude. Strength and grace can be found in prayer. Sincere love is to be the ruling principle of the heart. Love to God and love to your husband alone can be the right ground of action.
Let the woman decide that it is the husband's prerogative to have full control of her body, and to mold her mind to suit his in every respect, and run in the same channel of his own, and she yields her individuality. Her identity is lost, submerged in her husband. She is a mere machine for his will to move and control, a creature of his will and pleasure. He thinks for her, decides for her, and acts for her. She dishonors God in this passive position. She has a responsibility before God which it is her duty to preserve.
When the wife yields her body and mind to the control of her husband, being passive to his will in all things, sacrificing her conscience, her dignity, and even her identity, she loses the opportunity of exerting that mighty influence for good which she should possess, to elevate her husband. She could soften his stern nature, and her sanctifying influence could be exerted in a manner to refine, purify, and lead him to strive earnestly to govern his passions, and be more spiritually minded, that they might be partakers together of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The power of influence can be great to lead the mind to high and noble themes, above the low, sensual indulgences which the heart unrenewed by grace naturally seeks for. If the wife feels that she must, in order to please her husband, come down to his standard, when animal passions is the principal basis of his love, controlling his actions, she displeases God; for she fails to exert a sanctifying influence upon her husband. If she feels that she must submit to the animal passions of her husband without a word of remonstrance, she does not understand her duty to him, nor to her God. Sexual excess will effectually destroy a love for devotional exercises, will take from the brain the substance needed to nourish the system, and will most effectually exhaust the vitality. No woman should aid her husband in this work of self-destruction. She will not do it if she is enlightened, and truly loves her husband.
The more animal passions are indulged and exercised, the stronger do they become, and the more violent will be their clamors for indulgence. Let God-fearing men and women awake to their duty. Many professing Christianity are suffering with paralysis of nerve and brain because of their intemperance in this direction. Rottenness is in the bones and marrow of many who are regarded as good men, who pray and weep, and who stand in high places, but whose polluted carcasses will never pass the portals of the heavenly city.
Oh! that I could make all understand their obligations to God to preserve the mental and physical organism in the best condition to render perfect service to God.
Let the Christian wife refrain, both in word and act, from exciting the animal passions of her husband. Many have no strength at all to waste in this direction. They have already, from their youth up, weakened their brains, and sapped their constitutions, by the gratification of their animal passions. Self-denial and temperance should be the watchword in married life; then, when children are born to parents, they will not be so liable to have the moral and intellectual organs weak, and the animal, strong. Vice in children is almost universal. Is there not a cause? Who have given them the stamp of character? May the Lord open the eyes of all to see that they are standing in slippery places.
From the picture that has been presented before me, of the corruption of men and women professing godliness, I have feared that I should lose confidence in humanity altogether. I have seen that a fearful stupor is upon nearly all. It is almost impossible to arouse the very ones who should be awakened, so as to have any just sense of the power Satan holds over minds. They are not aware of the corruption teeming all around them. Satan has blinded their minds, and lulled them to carnal security. The failures in our efforts to bring minds up to understand the great dangers that beset souls, have sometimes led me to fear that I had exaggerated ideas of the depravity of the human heart. But when facts are brought to us of the sad deformity of one who has dared to minister in sacred things while corrupt at heart, and whose sin-stained hands have profaned the vessels of the Lord, I am sure I have not drawn the picture any too strong.
I have been bearing a very strong testimony, both in writing and in speaking, hoping to awaken God's people to understand that they had fallen upon perilous times. I have felt sick at heart at the indifference manifested by those who ought to be awake and guarded, and who should understand the workings of Satan. I have seen that Satan is leading the minds of even those who profess the truth to indulge in the terrible sin of fornication. The mind of a man or woman does not come down in a moment from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, and crime. It takes time to transform the human to the divine, or to degrade those formed in the image of God, to brutes or to the satanic. By beholding, we become changed. Man, formed in the image of his Maker, can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed, will become pleasant to him. As he ceases to watch and pray, he ceases to guard the citadel, the heart, and engages in sin and crime. The mind is debased, and it is impossible to elevate it from corruption while it is being educated to enslave the moral and intellectual powers, and bring them in subjection to grosser passions. It is constant war against the carnal mind, aided by the refining influence of the grace of God, which will attract it upward, and habituate it to meditate upon pure and holy things.
The body is not kept under by many professed Sabbath-keepers. Some embrace the Sabbath whose minds have ever been depraved. And when they embraced the truth, they did not feel the necessity of turning square about, and changing their whole course of action. Whereas they had been years following the inclinations of an unregenerated heart, and had been swayed by the corrupt passions of their carnal natures, which had defaced the image of God in them, and defiled everything they touched, their entire future life would be all too short, at the longest, to climb Peter's ladder of Christian perfection, preparatory to their entering into the kingdom of God. There are not many who feel that in professing the truth they cannot be saved by the profession they make, unless they become sanctified through the truth in answer to the prayer of our divine Lord to his Father: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
Men and women who profess to be disciples of Christ, keeping all the commandments of God, will have to feel in their daily lives the true spirit of agonizing to enter into the strait gate. The agonizing ones are the only ones who will urge their passage through the narrow way and strait gate that lead to life eternal, to fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. Those who merely seek to enter in will never be able. The entire Christian life of many will be spent in no greater effort than that of seeking, and their only reward will be an utter impossibility of their entering into that strait gate.
I have been surprised to see how many families are blinded by Satan, and have no sense of his workings, his wiles, and deceptions, practiced in their very midst. Parents seem to be stupefied by the paralyzing influence of Satan, and yet think they are all right. I have been shown that Satan engages in the work of debasing the minds of those who unite in marriage, that he may stamp his own hateful image upon their children. Because they have entered into the marriage relation, he deceives them, and leads them to pervert the marriage institution, which is sacred. Many think that because of the marriage relation, they may permit themselves to be controlled by animal passions. They are led on by Satan. He is well pleased with the low level their minds take; for he has much to gain in this direction. He knows that if he can excite the baser passions, and keep them in the ascendency, he has nothing to be troubled about in their Christian experience; for the moral and intellectual will be subordinate while the animal will predominate and keep in the ascendency, and by exercise these baser passions will be strengthened and the nobler qualities of the mind become weaker and weaker.
He can mold their posterity much more readily than he could their parents; for he can so control the minds of the parents that through them he may give his own stamp of character to their children. Many children are born with the animal passions largely in the ascendency, while the moral faculties are but feebly developed. These children need the most careful culture, to bring out, strengthen, and develop, the moral and intellectual, and have these take the lead. But the workings of Satan are not perceived. His wiles are not understood. Children are not trained for God. Their moral and religious education is neglected. The animal passions are being constantly strengthened, while the moral faculties are becoming enfeebled.
Some children begin to practice self-pollution in their infancy; and as they increase in years, the lustful passions grow with their growth, and strengthen with their strength. Their minds are not at rest. Girls desire the society of boys; and boys, that of the girls. Their deportment is not reserved and modest. They are bold and forward, taking indecent liberties. Their corrupt habits of self-abuse have debased their minds, and tainted their souls. Vile thoughts, novel-reading, vile books, and love-stories, excite their imagination, and just suit their depraved minds. They do not love work. They complain of fatigue when engaged in labor. Their backs ache. Their heads ache. Is there not sufficient cause? Are they fatigued because of their labor? No, no! Yet their parents indulge these children in their complaints, and release them from labor and responsibility. This is the very worst thing they can do for them. They are removing almost the only barrier to Satan's having free access to their weakened minds. Useful labor would be a safeguard in some measure from his decided control of them.
We have some knowledge of the manner of Satan's workings, and how well he succeeds in it. From what has been shown me, Satan has paralyzed minds. They are slow to suspect that their own children can be wrong and sinful.
Some of these children profess to be Christians, and parents sleep on, feeling no danger while the minds and bodies of their children are becoming wrecked. Some parents do not even take care to keep their children with them when in the house of God. Young girls have attended meetings and taken their seat, it may be, with their parents, but more frequently back in the congregation. They have been in the habit of making an excuse to leave the house. Boys understand this, and go out before or after the exit of the girls, and then, as the meeting closes, they accompany these girls home. Parents are none the wiser for this. Again, excuses are made to walk, and boys and girls assemble in some out-of-the-way place, resort to the fair grounds, or some other secluded place, and there play, and have a regular, high time, with no experienced eye upon them to caution them. They imitate men and women of advanced age.
This is a fast age, little boys and girls commence paying attentions to one another, when they should both be in the nursery, taking lessons in modesty of deportment. What does this common mixing up do? Does it increase chastity in the youth who thus gather together? No, indeed! it increases the first lustful passions in the youth, and they are crazed by the devil, and only give themselves up to their vile practices after such meetings.
Parents are asleep. They don't know that Satan has planted his hellish banner right in their households. What, I was led to inquire, will become of the youth in this corrupt age? I say parents are asleep. The children are infatuated with a love-sick sentimentalism, and the truth has no power to correct the wrong. What can be done to stay the tide of evil? Parents can do much if they will. If a young girl just entering her teens is accosted with familiarity by a boy of her own age, or older, she should be taught to so resent this, that no such advances will ever be repeated. When a girl's company is frequently sought for by boys or young men, something is wrong. That young girl needs a mother to show her her place, or to restrain her, and teach her what belongs to a girl of her age.
The corrupting doctrine which has prevailed, that, as viewed from a health standpoint, the sexes must mingle together, has done its mischievous work. When parents and guardians manifest one tithe of the shrewdness, which Satan possesses, then can this associating of sexes be nearer harmless. As it is, Satan is most successful in his efforts to bewitch the minds of the youth; and the mingling of boys and girls only increases the evil twenty-fold. Let boys and girls be kept employed in useful labor. If they are tired, they will have less inclination to corrupt their own bodies. There is nothing to be hoped for in the case of the young, unless there is an entire change in the minds of those older. Vice is stamped upon the features of boys and girls, and yet what is being done to stay the progress of this evil? Young boys and men are allowed and encouraged to take liberties by immodest advances of girls and young women. May God arouse fathers and mothers to work earnestly to change this terrible state of things, is my prayer.
I have been looking over the testimonies given for the Sabbath-keeping people, and I am astonished at the mercy of God and his care for his people in giving them the many warnings, pointing out their dangers, presenting before them the exalted position he would have them occupy. If they would keep themselves in his love, and separate from the world, he would make his especial blessings to rest upon them, and his light to shine around about them. Their influence for good might be felt in every part of the gospel field, in every branch of the work. If they fail to meet the mind of God, if they continue to have so little sense of the exalted character of the work as they have had in the past, their influence and example will prove a terrible curse. They will do harm, and only harm. The blood of precious souls will be found upon their garments.
Testimonies of warning have been repeated. I inquire, Who have heeded them? Who have been zealous in repenting of their sins and idolatry, and have been earnestly pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? Who have shown the inward work of God, leading to self-denial and humble self-sacrifice? Who that have been warned, have so separated themselves from the world, from its affections and lusts, that they have shown a daily growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Whom do we find among the active ones, that feel the burden for the church? Whom do we see God especially using, working by them, and through them, to elevate the standard, and to bring the church up to it, that they may prove the Lord and see if he will not pour them out a blessing.
I have waited anxiously and hoped that God would put his Spirit upon some and use them as instruments of righteousness to awaken and set in order his church. I have about despaired as I have seen, year after year, a greater departure from that simplicity which God has shown me should characterize the life of his followers. There has been less and less interest in, and devotion to, the cause of God. I ask, Wherein have they regarded the warnings given? Wherein have they heeded the instructions they have received? They profess confidence in the testimonies. Wherein have they sought to live according to the light given in them?
I saw that great changes must be wrought in the hearts and lives of very many before God can work in them by his power, in the salvation of others. They must be renewed after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness. The love of the world, the love of self, and every ambition of life calculated to exalt self, will be changed by the grace of God, and employed in the special work of saving souls for whom Christ died. Humility will take the place of pride; and haughty self-esteem will be exchanged for meekness. Every power of the heart will be turned into disinterested love for all mankind. Satan, I saw, will arouse himself when they in earnest commence the work of reformation in themselves. He knows that these persons, if consecrated to God, could prove the strength of his promises, and realize a power working with them that the adversary shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. They would realize the life of God in the soul.
One family in particular have needed all the benefits they could receive from the reform in diet. Yet these very ones were completely backslidden. Meat and butter were used quite freely, spices were not entirely discarded. This family could have received great benefit from a nourishing, well-regulated diet. The head of the family needed a plain, nutritious diet. His habits were sedentary, and his blood moved sluggishly through the system. The benefit of healthful exercise he could not have like others, and, therefore, his food should be of a right quality and quantity. There had not been in this family the right management in regard to diet. There had been irregularity. There should have been a specified time for each meal, and the food should have been prepared free from grease in a simple form; but pains should have been taken to have it nutritious, healthful, and inviting. There has been in this family, as also in many families, a special parade made for visitors, many dishes prepared and frequently made too rich; so that those seated at the table would be tempted to eat to excess. Then in the absence of company there was a great reaction, a falling off in the preparations brought on the table. The diet was spare and lacked nourishment. It was considered not so much matter "just for ourselves." The meals were frequently picked up, and the regular time for eating not regarded. Every member of the family was injured by such management. It is a sin for any of our sisters to make such preparations as mentioned, for visitors, and wrong their own families by a spare diet which will fail to nourish the system.
The brother spoken of felt a lack in his system. He was not nourished. He thought meat would give him strength that he needed. Had he been suitably cared for, his table spread with food at the right time, of a nourishing quality, all the demands of nature would have been abundantly supplied. The butter and meat stimulate. These have injured the stomach and perverted the taste. The sensitive nerves of the brain have been benumbed, and the animal appetite strengthened at the expense of the moral and intellectual. These higher powers, which should control, have been growing weaker; so that eternal things have not been discerned. Paralysis has benumbed the spiritual and devotional. Satan has triumphed to see how easily he can succeed in coming in through the appetite, and controlling men and women of intelligence, calculated by the Creator to do a good and great work.
The case referred to above is not an isolated one. If it were, I would not introduce it here. When Satan takes possession of the mind, how soon the light and instruction that the Lord has graciously given, fade away, and have no force! How many excuses are framed, how many necessities made, which have no existence, to bear them up in their course of wrong, in setting aside the light and trampling it under foot! I wish to speak with assurance, that the greatest objection to health reform is, this people do not live it out, and they will gravely say they cannot live the health reform and preserve their strength.
We find in every such instance a good reason why they cannot live out the health reform. They do not live it out, and have never followed it strictly, therefore cannot be benefited by it. Some fall into the error, that because they leave meat they have no need to supply its place with the best of fruits and vegetables, prepared in their most natural state, free from grease and spices. If they will only skillfully arrange the bounties the Creator has surrounded them with, and with a clear conscience parents and children unitedly engage in the work, they would enjoy simple food, and would then be able to speak understandingly of health reform.
Those who have not been converted to health reform, that have never fully adopted it, are not judges of its benefits. Those who digress occasionally to gratify the taste in eating a fattened turkey, or of other flesh-meats, pervert their appetites, and are not the ones to judge of the benefits of the system of health reform. They are controlled by taste, not by principle.
I have a well-set table on all occasions. I make no change for visitors, whether believers or unbelievers. I never intend to be surprised by an unreadiness to have set at my table from one to half a dozen extra who may chance to come in. I have enough simple, healthful food ready to satisfy hunger and nourish the system. If any want more than this they are at liberty to find it elsewhere. No butter or flesh-meats of any kind come on my table. Cake is seldom found on my table. I generally have an ample supply of fruits, good bread and vegetables. Our table is always well patronized, and all who partake of the food do well, and improve upon it. All sit down with no epicurean appetite, and eat with a relish the bounties supplied by our Creator.
A wonderful indifference has been manifested upon this important subject, by those right at the heart of the work. The lack of stability in regard to the principles of health reform, is a true index of their character and their spiritual strength. They are deficient in thoroughness in their Christian experience. Their consciences are not regarded. The basis or cause of every right action existing and operating in the renewed heart secures obedience without external or selfish motives. The spirit of truth and a good conscience are sufficient to inspire and regulate the motives and conduct of those who learn of Christ and are like him. Those who have not strength of religious principles in themselves have been easily swayed, by the example of others, in a wrong direction. Those who have never learned their duty from God, and acquainted themselves with his purposes concerning them, are not reliable in times of severe conflict with the powers of darkness. The external and present appearances will sway them. Worldly men are governed by worldly principles. They can appreciate no other. Christians should not be governed by the same principles worldly men are. They should not seek to strengthen themselves in the performance of duty by any other consideration than a love to obey every requirement of God as found in his word, and dictated by an enlightened conscience.
In the renewed heart there will be a fixed principle to obey the will of God because there is a love for what is just, and good, and holy. There will not be a hesitating, a conferring with the taste, or studying of convenience, or moving in a certain course because others have done so. Every one should live for themselves. The minds of all who are renewed by grace will be an open medium, continually receiving light, grace, and truth, from above, and transmitting it to others. Their works are fruitful. Their fruit is unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
There are but very few who have an experimental knowledge of the sanctifying influence of the truths they profess. Their obedience and devotion have not been in accordance with their light and privileges. They have no real sense of the obligation resting upon them, to walk as children of the light, and not as children of darkness. If the light had been given Sodom and Gomorrah that has been given to these, they would have repented of their sins in sackcloth and ashes, and would have escaped the signal wrath of God. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Judgment than for those who have been privileged with the clear light, and who have had a vast amount of labor, and have not profited by it. They have neglected the great salvation God in mercy was willing to bestow. They were so blinded by the devil, they verily thought they were rich and in the favor of God, when the True Witness declares them to be wretched, miserable, poor, and blind, and naked.
THE following was addressed to a sister a few months since, and as it may be quite applicable to the cases of others, I give it here.
DEAR SR. ——: I am somewhat acquainted with your peculiar temperament, your caution, your fears, your lack of hope and confidence. I sympathize with you in your sufferings of mind, as you cannot see everything in regard to our position and faith as clearly as you could wish. We know you to be strictly conscientious, and have not a doubt, could you have the privilege of hearing on all points of present truth, and of weighing the evidences for yourself, you could be stablished, strengthened, settled. Then opposition or reproach would not move you from the sure foundation. As you have not had the privilege, as many others have, of attending meetings, and experiencing for yourself the evidences attending the presentation of the truths we hold sacred, we feel more solicitous for you on this account. Our hearts are drawn out after you, and our love is sincere and fervent toward you. We fear that amid the perils of these last days you may make shipwreck. Be not grieved with me for thus writing. You cannot have a full sense, as I have, of the wiles and sophistry of Satan. His deceptions are many. His snares are carefully and cunningly prepared to entangle the unwary and unsuspecting. We want you to escape his wiles. We want you to be fully on the Lord's side, waiting, loving, and earnestly longing, for the appearance of our Saviour in the clouds of heaven.
There have many things arisen to discourage you, since your first efforts to keep the Sabbath. Yet we hope that these things transpiring will not divert your mind from important truths for these last days. If the advocates of truth do not all do as they should, because unsanctified by the truths they profess, the truth is the same. Its luster is undimmed. Although these dark ones may stand between the truth and those who have not fully taken hold upon it, and their dark shadow may appear for a time to cloud the bright luster of truth, yet, in reality, it does not. The truth of heavenly origin is undimmed. Its purity and exalted character are changeless. It lives; for it is immortal. Cling to the truth. Obtain an experience for yourself, my beloved sister. You have an individuality. You are accountable only for how you use the light which shines upon your pathway, independent of all others. The lack of consecration in others will be no excuse for you. Their perverting the truth by their wrong course of action, because they are unsanctified by it, will not render you less responsible. A solemn obligation is resting upon you to exalt the standard of truth, to bear it aloft, even if the standard-bearer faints and falls. Do not you leave the precious standard to trail in the dust. Seize the lowered standard; bear it aloft, even at the peril of your good name, your worldly honor, and your life, if required. My much-respected sister, I entreat of you to look up. Cling fast, cling to your Heavenly Father's hand. Jesus, our advocate, lives, to make intercession for us. Whoever may deny the faith, by their unholy lives, it does not change the truth into a lie. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal: The Lord knoweth them that are his. Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. I have fears, at times, that your feet will slide; that your feet will refuse to walk in the humble, straight and narrow way, which leadeth to life, eternal life, in the kingdom of glory.
I present before you the life of self-denial, of humility and sacrifice, of our divine Lord. The Majesty of Heaven, the King of glory, left his riches, his splendor, his honor and glory, and, in order to save sinful man, condescended to a life of humility, poverty and shame; "who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame." Oh! why are we so sensitive of trial and of reproach, of shame and of suffering, when our Lord has given us such an example? Who would wish to enter into the joy of their Lord while they were unwilling to partake of his sufferings? The servant unwilling to submit to bear the humility and shame and reproach their Master bore unselfishly for them! What! the servant shrinking from a life of humility and sacrifice which is for his own eternal happiness, that he may finally obtain an exceeding great and eternal reward! The language of my heart is, Let me be a partaker with Christ of his sufferings, that I may finally share the glory with him.
The truth of God has never been popular with the world. The natural heart is ever averse to the truth. I thank God that we must leave the love of the world, and pride of heart, and everything which tendeth to idolatry, in order to be followers of the Man of Calvary. Those who obey the truth will never be loved and honored of the world. From the lips of the divine Teacher was heard, as he walked in humility among the children of men, "Whosoever will be my disciple, let him take up his cross, and follow me." Yes, follow our Exampler. Was he seeking for praise and honor of men? Oh, no! Shall we then seek for honor or praise from worldlings?
Those who have no love for God, will not love the children of God. Listen to the words of heavenly instruction: "Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you." "Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy, for, behold your reward is great in Heaven." "But woe unto you that are rich, for you have received your consolation." In John, we again find the words of Christ: "These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but, because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." "I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
In first John we read, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world." In Paul's epistle to the Romans he beseeches them, by the mercies of God, that they present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is their reasonable service. "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
I entreat of you to carefully consider the instructions in Paul's epistle to the Galatians: "For do I now persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ." I fear you are in great danger of making shipwreck of the faith. You consider that you have sacrifices to make to obey the truth. We believe that you have made some sacrifices, but had you been more thorough in this work than you have been, your feet would not now be stumbling, your faith wavering. I do not refer now to sacrifice of means, but, what comes closer than this, to that which would cause you a more painful conflict than to give your means, that which touches self especially. You have not yielded your pride, your love of the approbation of an unbelieving world. You love to have men speak well of you.
You have not received and practiced the truth in its simplicity. You have, I fear, felt somewhat as though you were condescending, to receive the unpopular truth as advocated by Sabbath-keeping Adventists. You have sought, to quite a degree, to retain the spirit of the world, and yet adopt the truth. This cannot be. Christ will accept of nothing but the whole heart—the entire affections.
The friendship of the world is enmity with God. When you desire to so live as to shun reproach, you are seeking a position above your suffering Lord; and while engaged in this, you are separating from your Father in Heaven—exchanging his love for that which is not worth obtaining.
I have felt pressed in spirit in regard to you, my sister, and also your husband. As I have taken my pen to write, your cases have been clearly brought before me. Your dangers I am fully aware of—your state of perplexity and doubt. Everything has been unfavorable for you, Sr. ——, since you have sought to obey the law of God. But nothing has been as great a hindrance to you both as your pride. You are both fond of show, of display; and this has no part in good, humble religion. I saw that you both had a fiery ordeal to pass; you would be tested and proved. In this conflict, Satan would strive hard to blind your eyes to your eternal interest, and would present the advantages of the present time, this little, short life which is so uncertain. You would see claims in this life, and unless you parted with your love of show and the favor of the world, you could not retain the love of God. Jesus was presented to me, pointing to the charms of Heaven, seeking to attract your eyes from the world, and saying, "Which will ye choose, me, or the world? You cannot have me and the love of the world too. Will you sacrifice Him who died for you for the pride of life, for the treasures of the world? Choose between me and the world; the world has no part in me."
I saw your feet faltering, your faith wavering. Unbelief and doubt were inclosing you about, and the light of Jesus was departing. Vanity is one of the strongest principles of our depraved natures. Satan will constantly and frequently appeal to it with success. Individuals have not been wanting to aid Satan in his work to flatter you; to present your ability, and the influence you could have in society; that it would be a great pity for you to unite your interests with a people of humble faith, and you mingle in a class of society, as they regard it, beneath you. It has seemed to you that it was a great sacrifice you were making for the truth. It is true that the great masses who possess influence, do not choose to sacrifice their worldly ambition and separate their affections from the world, and turn their footsteps into the narrow, humble path traveled by the suffering Man of Calvary. Their talents and influence they consider too precious to be devoted to the cause of God—too precious to be given back to glorify the Giver who lent them these talents to be improved upon and returned back to him—both principal and interest. For the temporal advantages they suppose they will gain, they will sacrifice the eternal. For the flattery of men, they will turn from the approval of the Lord, the maker of the heavens and the earth, and forfeit all right to the honor which cometh from above. How few know what is for their best interest! You do not appreciate this. Jesus, through a life of unexampled suffering and an ignominious death, has opened a way that man may follow in his footsteps, and finally be exalted to his throne, and have awarded to him immortality and eternal life. For a life of obedience, an immortal inheritance—a treasure undefiled that fadeth not away.
In the epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, we read: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." "For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence."
You have the example of Christ, his unpretending life without display, or grandeur. Is the servant above his Lord? Dear sister ——, you have a good mind. You can do good. You can be as an anchor to your husband, and a strength to many others. But if you stand halting between two opinions, unreconciled to the humble work of God, your influence in connection with your husband's will be exerted in a wrong direction. How readeth the word of God? Turn from the opinions of men to the law and to the testimony. Shut out every worldly consideration. Make your decisions for eternity. Weigh evidence in this important time. We surely need not expect to escape trial and persecution in following our Saviour. This is the salary of those who follow Christ. Our Saviour plainly declares we shall suffer persecution. Our earthly interests must be subservient to the eternal. Listen to the words of Christ: "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren or sisters, or father or mother, or wife or children, lands, for my sake and the gospel's, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life." Eternal interests are here involved.
Do not flatter yourselves that if you should yield the truth, all obstacles will be removed to your acquiring property. Satan tells you this. This is his sophistry. If God's blessing rests upon you, because of your surrendering all to him, you will prosper. If you turn from God, he will turn from you. His hand can scatter faster than you can gather. What is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what, will a man give in exchange for his soul?
You, my dear sister, need a thorough conversion to the truth, which shall slay self. Cannot you trust in God? Please read Matt. 10:25-40. Please read with a prayerful heart Matt. 6:24-34. Let these words impress your heart: "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?" The better life is here referred to. By the body is meant the inward adorning which makes sinful mortals, possessing the meekness and righteousness of Christ, valuable in his sight, as was Enoch, and entitles him to receive the finishing touch of immortality. Our Saviour refers us to the fowls of the air, which sow not, neither reap, nor gather into barns; yet their Heavenly Father feedeth them. Then he says, "Are ye not much better than they? . . . And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." These lilies, in their simplicity and innocence, meet the mind of God better than Soloman in his costly decorations, yet destitute of the heavenly adorning. "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" Can ye not trust in your Heavenly Father? Can ye not rest upon his gracious promise? Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Precious promise! Can we rely upon it? Can we not have implicit trust, knowing that he is faithful who hath promised? I entreat of you to let your trembling faith again grasp the promises of God. Bear your whole weight upon these promises with unwavering faith; for they will not, they cannot, fail. E. G. W.
The following spelling/typesetting mistakes are left as in the original:
"he unable" should be "be unable"
"cord" should be "chord"
"to cold" should be "too cold"
"to good" should be "too good"
"than he that he" should be "than he"
"to positive" should be "too positive"
"Adventist are" should be "Adventists are"
in one instance, "bou upside-down [n] d" has been changed to "bound"